Watertown native Albie O’Connell will take the reigns of the Boston University ice hockey team.
O’Connell has strong ties with BU, working behind the bench at BU for the past four years, the last three as associate head coach. He also played for the Terriers from 1995-96 to 1998-99, and served as captain during his senior year.
“Simply put, this is the opportunity of a lifetime,” O’Connell said in the announcement on GoTerriers.com. “I’d like to thank (BU Athletic Director) Drew Marrochello, President Robert A. Brown and senior vice president Todd Klipp for entrusting me with a program that means the world to me.
“BU has given me so much and I want each player that puts on our jersey to feel the same way I do. Returning here four years ago was an amazing feeling, and I look forward to continuing the momentum that this program has enjoyed recently and carrying on the incredible BU hockey legacy.”
O’Connell succeeds David Quinn, who recently took the position of head coach of the New York Rangers.
Marrochello said he believes O’Connell will lead BU at an elite level for years to come.
“Albie is well-regarded, well-respected and well-prepared for this opportunity,” Marrochello said. “As a former Terrier captain and Boston University graduate, he understands the magnitude of BU Hockey, and has a clear and aspirational vision for how we will continue to provide a first-class experience to our student-athletes.”
Before joining the Terriers’ staff, O’Connell served as an assistant at several Div. I college hockey programs and was known as a top recruiter. He worked for three years at Harvard, and before that, three years at Northeastern. He also had stints at Merrimack, Holy Cross and Niagara. His first coaching position was at Div. III Colby.
After BU, O’Connell was drafted by the New York Islanders, and played for the professionally in the ECHL and the British National League. He lives in Duxbury with his wife, Kristen and their three children.
O’Connell continues Watertown’s tradition as an incubator for college hockey coaches. The longtime head coach of BU’s Commonwealth Avenue rival, Boston College, is Watertown’s Jerry York. Also, Dick Umile, who retired this spring after leading the University of New Hampshire (UNH) for 28 years, began his coaching career as head coach at Watertown High School.