Tim Taylor Passes Away at 71
Was Long-time Yale and U.S. National Team Coach
CHN Staff Report
Tim Taylor, who coached the U.S. Olympic team in 1994 and Yale for 30 years, passed away today at the age of 71. He had been in a lengthy cancer battle.
Taylor, who graduated Harvard in 1972, went 342-433-55 in 28 seasons with Yale, the only Division I head coaching job he ever had. He was away from the team for the 1984 Olympics, as an assistant coach, and 1994 as the head coach. He parted ways with the university in 2006, his last win being a 5 OT classic over Union in the 2006 ECAC playoffs.
The ECAC Coach of the Year award was later named in his honor.
After leaving Yale, Taylor was a volunteer assistant coach at New Hampshire for one season. The next year he joined the U.S. National Team Development Program as a scout and helped build the team that won last year's World Junior Championships gold medal.
Taylor was a standout forward at Harvard, where he played until 1963. He tried out, but didn't make, the 1964 Olympic team, so instead went to play for the Waterloo Blackhawks, where he helped them win four USHL championships. He went on to be an assistant coach at Harvard before going to Yale, and coached in five different World Junior Championships.
"Tim Taylor gave so many of us young American hockey players the opportunity to achieve amazing goals," former U.S. Olympian Mike Eruzione said via Twitter. "Not many people outside of U.S. hockey knew of Tim Taylor but any young player growing up in New England knew exactly who he was."
Taylor was a two-time winner of the ECAC Hockey Coach of the Year Award (1991-92, 1997-98). The award was later named in his honor after he left Yale. He also was the Spencer Penrose Award winner as national coach of the year three times (1986-87, 1991-92, 1997-98).
Taylor was known as one of the sport's true gentlemen, though it masked a quiet fire. And he was mentor to numerous players and coaches along the way.
Current Yale assistant Red Gendron summed up the feelings of many following the Bulldogs' national championship earlier this month.
"When I was a high school coach, and went to district camp, Tim Taylor made me feel like I was important when there were other college coaches who didn't have time for me," Gendron said. "I don't know what he recongized. He always treated me like a peer when I was anything but his peer. Throuhgout my coaching careeer, he's been a mentor, somebody I can bounce ideas off of, someone who was there to support me.
"You know, I was fired a couple of times, like a lot of people who get into this racket. But I could pick up the phone and call Tim and there were words of encouragement. He was there to tell me, 'Hey you're a pretty good coach Red, something else will come up.' He's a very, very special man."
Curren Yale coach Keith Allain, who played for Taylor in the last 1970s, said Taylor taught him that coaching could be a noble profession.
"(Taylor's) an educated guy, he went to Harvard, he has a degree in English. He could've done anything in the world, but he chose to coach," Allain said. "And the way he carried himself with such professionalism, and his demeanor ... he was a teacher, he was a leader, all those things meant nobility to me."
There were numerous other reactions via Twitter from recent U.S. National program players.
"My prayers and thoughts go out to friends and family of Tim Taylor," said Wisconsin forward Nic Kerdiles. "I was lucky enough to learn so much from him."
Said Miami's Austin Czarnik: "Rest in peace coach Taylor. Thanks for giving me the chance to play at USA. Wouldn't be here without you."