Monday, February 9, 2009

Mt. Rushmore: John "Snooks" Kelley

We continue our profile of Boston College sports greats to arrive at our BC athletics make-believe Mt. Rushmore...

Name: John "Snooks" Kelley
Died: April 1986 (age 78)
Sport: Baseball (player) and Men's Ice Hockey (player, manager, coach)
BC Era: 1925-1927 (player), 1932-1942 and 1946-1972 (coach)

Current Standings: Coach Kelley is currently in 6th place with 17% of the vote. Trails Doug Flutie, Jerry York, Matt Ryan, William J. Flynn and Troy Bell.

Why He's In
  • Like York, also a Double Eagle (a star hockey player at B.C. High)
  • Dedicated more than 60 years to Boston College - served as a hockey team manager for three years, a "player-manager" during his senior year, and five years after graduation became the head coach
  • Kelley's commitment to the Eagles ice hockey program was only temporarily put on hold when he served in the U.S. Navy from 1942-1946 during World War II
  • Some of his teams records are downright filthy ... 13-1 in 1940-1941 ... 21-1 in 1948-1949 ... 17-4 in 1953-1954 ...
  • Led the Eagles to the 1949 National Championship with a win over Dartmouth becoming the first eastern team to win the title. The 1949 title game was only the second National title game ever played.
  • Also guided the Eagles to a national championship runner-up finish in 1965, losing to Michigan Tech 8-2
  • Earned nine NCAA Tournament and ECAC Division I Playoff berths
  • Won eight New England Championships, eight Beanpot titles and 1 ECAC playoff championship
  • Guided the Eagles to a career 501-243-15 mark in a 36 year career. While both Coaches Ceglarski and York also surpassed this mark in career victories, both coached in many more games per season.
  • First NCAA Division-I men's hockey coach to achieve 500 career victories, all with the Eagles (against, of course, Boston University 7-5 on Feb. 23, 1972 ... B.U. would go on to win that year's National Championship)
  • In 1959, won the Spencer Penrose Award (college hockey's coach of the year)
  • Inducted into the Boston College Varsity Club Hall of Fame in 1970, the inaugural year of the Varsity Club
  • Nickname is the "Dean of American College Hockey Coaches"

Maybe Not?
  • Both Jerry York and Len Ceglarski also led the Eagles to nine Frozen Four berths, and it was much harder to make the Frozen Four in the Ceglarski and York eras than it was during Kelley's era ... from 1948-1976, the NCAA Tournament was only a 4 team field.
  • Towards the end of his coaching career, didn't enjoy the sustained success that someone like Jerry York has sustained (Kelley's last two teams posted losing records)

  • While we have two other legendary BC men's ice hockey coaches to consider, worth noting that Coach Kelley coached them both as players - Ceglarski from 1948-1951 and York from 1963-1967
  • The Eagles home ice bears his name

York, Ceglarski, or Kelley? Two of three? All three? Thoughts?

No comments: