Photo: BC Athletics


Men’s Hockey Soars

Head Coach Greg Brown ’90 led the Eagles all the way to the NCAA title game this season.

With the BC men’s hockey team having just completed its most successful season since 2016—the Eagles lost to the University of Denver 2–0 in the 2024 NCAA championship game—it’s easy to forget that when Greg Brown ’90 took over as head coach in 2022, he was doing so in the shadow of a legend. Hockey Hall of Fame coach Jerry York had led the Eagles for the prior twenty-eight years, winning four national championships with BC (he won another with Bowling Green), and retiring with more victories than any coach in NCAA history. 

How do you follow a coach like that? “The good thing for me,” Brown recalled recently, “is that the numbers he amassed were so big that I just felt like there’s no way anyone could get to those. He was so successful for so long—it just felt so out of reach.” 

When BC hired him, Brown had just one year of head coaching experience, with the United States Hockey League’s Dubuque Fighting Saints, but there was plenty to recommend him. First, there were the fourteen seasons he’d spent coaching under York at BC. (He departed in 2018, spending the next three years as an assistant coach with the New York Rangers.) Then there were his on-ice achievements. As a college defensemen at BC, from 1986 to 1990, Brown was a Hobey Baker Award finalist and USA Hockey Athlete of the Year. He played for the US Olympic team in 1988 and 1992 and also for the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Winnipeg Jets. 

The team struggled during his first season, finishing with just fourteen wins, BC’s fewest since 1994.  “You can play well and lose, that’s not hard to do,” Brown said of the team’s performance that year. “But to play well and win takes a lot of people doing a lot of things very well.” 

This year, the Eagles took flight after adding a trio of gifted new scorers. The offensive firepower was supplied by three talented freshmen—Will Smith and Ryan Leonard, who’d been recruited by York prior to his retirement, and Gabe Perreault, who was brought in by Brown. The newcomers had played together on the USA Hockey National Team Development Program squad, and were all drafted in the first round of the 2023 NHL draft. 

There was some skepticism about how the three freshmen would fare against older competition, but those concerns dissipated when the linemates skated together during a scrimmage. “You could see the connection immediately,” Brown said. 

The Eagles started the year with three consecutive victories. By February, they were 19–4–1 and ranked first in the country. A loss to Boston University in the Beanpot tournament could have been a setback, but it became a motivator. “That was a turning point for us,” Brown said. “They got a little more hardened, a little more intensity. They just upped their game—sometimes you need a loss for that to happen.” The Eagles finished the year with a program-record thirty-four victories, captured their first Hockey East Tournament Championship since 2012, and made it all the way to the NCAA final. 

Not long after losing the championship game, Brown exchanged text messages with York. The two men had been behind the bench together when the Eagles lost the 2006 and 2007 title games. BC followed those defeats by lifting championship trophies in 2008, 2010, and 2012. Just keep going, York told his former protégé. “Even though we lost, you’re going to be a much better coach because of what you went through. The future looks extremely bright.” ◽

Doug Guyer


Righting a Boston Marathon Wrong

Former BC quarterback Doug Guyer ’83 fell in love with the Boston Marathon as an undergrad watching runners attack Heartbreak Hill. Which explains the disappointment he felt after reading about the plight of Buzunesh Deba, who finished second among women in the 2014 marathon, only to be declared the winner two years later when Rita Jeptoo was disqualified for doping. Deba has been waiting ever since for the $100,000 prize that the Boston Athletic Association agrees she is owed. Following marathoning guidelines, however, the BAA has declined to pay Deba until it gets back the money it previously awarded to Jeptoo.

In May, Guyer decided Deba had waited long enough. A successful businessman, he sent $75,000 of his own money to the Ethiopian runner, who lives in New York with her family. If the BAA doesn’t come up with the rest, he said, he’s considering covering that, too. “What does BC teach us?” Guyer said. “Serve others. Don’t wait for the lawyers’ OK to do the right thing. Take action. Today.” —John Wolfson