Greg Brown, one of the best defensemen in Boston College men’s hockey history, is once again leaving the Heights for the NHL—only this time with a clipboard in hand. After spending 14 years alongside Jerry York, the alumnus and associate head coach is joining David Quinn and the New York Rangers.
The assistant coach hiring is fitting in more ways than one. For starters, Brown’s new boss is a familiar face—over the course of the past six years, the Southborough, Mass. native has been tasked with outsmarting Quinn, who prior to May 16 was the head coach of Boston University. Year after year, the two faced off against each other in one of the most famous rivalries in sports. During his time at BC, Brown oversaw the team’s defensemen and coached the Eagles’ special teams units. In the process, he worked with a handful of current and former Rangers, such as Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes.
As far as defensemen go, Brown was as aggressive as they get. While at BC (1986-90), he racked up 24 goals and 96 assists for a grand total of 120 points. What’s even more impressive about that statline is that Brown skipped a year to play with Team U.S.A. in the 1988 Olympic Games. By the time he graduated, his legacy was well established. In fact, Brown—a two-time First-Team All-American and Hobey Baker Award finalist—is one of just three players in Hockey East history to win Player of the Year twice.
Following graduation, Brown moved to the pros, splitting time between the Buffalo Sabres and their AHL affiliate—the Rochester Americans—for the first two years of his NHL career. After being released by the Sabres, he signed with the Penguins for the 1993-94 season. But before Brown could really get settled in Pittsburgh, he was shipped off to Winnipeg, where he suited up for his final nine NHL games. Then, he turned to Europe: The defenseman spent six seasons overseas with a handful of teams in Sweden, Switzerland, and Germany.
Soon after Brown hung up the skates, he was inducted into the BC Varsity Club Hall of Fame and hired by his alma mater. For the first eight years of his coaching career, he served as an assistant. In 2012, he was promoted to associate head coach. Throughout his tenure, the Eagles won six Hockey East Tournaments, reached the national title game five times, and brought home the championship on three separate occasions (2008, 2010, and 2012).
Outside of Kelley Rink, Brown used his international experience to his advantage, working as an assistant coach of the U.S. National Junior Team that participated in the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship. Interestingly enough, Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei was part of that squad.
In the ’90s, Brown didn’t have nearly the same kind of success in the NHL that he had at BC. Perhaps his fortune will change this time around.
Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Senior Staff