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Coach Tim Taylor Honored as Legend of College Hockey

By Mike McMahon - Special to USAHockey.com, 03/16/15, 10:00AM EDT

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Taylor Passed Away Two Years Ago Following a Distinguished Career

Earlier this month, the Hobey Baker Memorial Award Foundation announced it was going to posthumously bestow its Legend of College Hockey award on former Yale University coach Tim Taylor, who died just two weeks after Yale won the national title two years ago.

For most people in the hockey community that knew Taylor, there isn’t a better word to describe him than “legend.”

After his playing days at rival Harvard University, Taylor coached the Yale Bulldogs for 28 seasons until 2006, winning 342 games, six Ivy League titles and an ECAC championship. The ECAC Coach of the Year award is named in his honor.

After leaving Yale in 2006, he joined USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program and was a scout and mentor for several World Junior Championship teams, helping shape teams that won gold medals in 2011 and 2013.

He also coached the 1994 U.S. Olympic men’s team and was a fixture at USA Hockey camps in the summers.

“I first met Timmy when I was a high school coach, and it was at a regional camp for USA Hockey,” University of Maine coach Red Gendron said. “Tim Taylor made me feel like I was important, when there were a bunch of other coaches there who didn’t have the time of day for me. To Timmy, I was a hockey coach. And if you loved hockey as much as he loved hockey, you were peers.

“He was a mentor of mine throughout my career. He made an impression on me from the day I met him. It was hard to love hockey more than he did. It was guys like Timmy, [former NHL coach] John Cunniff and [former University of Wisconsin coach] ‘Badger’ Bob Johnson. Those guys were mentors to a lot of people. If you shared the same passion for hockey as they did, you were one of them. They were special people, and Timmy may have been the leader.”

Taylor was named ECAC Coach of the Year twice and was a three-time winner of the Spencer Penrose Award for national coach of the year.

Taylor was known as one of the sport’s true gentlemen. His quiet and approachable demeanor left an impression on all of his formers players, and even some who chose to play with other programs.

“Coach Taylor recruited me to go to Yale,” said Merrimack College coach Mark Dennehy, who ultimately decided to play at Boston College.

“That's the first time I ever met him. He was one of the smartest, classiest, most passionate coaches I have ever been around. One of his best friends, John Cunniff, was one of my mentors. They came from completely different backgrounds, but the common link was hockey. I don't know who loved hockey more, Coach Taylor or John Cunniff.”

Taylor was also an influential member of USA Hockey. In addition to his coaching duties at the 1994 Winter Games, Taylor was an assistant coach on the 1984 U.S. Olympic team and head coach for Team USA at the IIHF World Championships for four years in the 1990s. He was named USA Hockey’s 2006 Distinguished Achievement Award winner for his contributions to the sport of hockey.

Even after he retired from full-time coaching at Yale in 2006, it was had to pry Taylor away from the rink. He was an assistant coach for Team USA’s Under-18 teams in 2008 and 2010, and also served as a special advisor for the World Junior Championship teams in 2011 and 2012.

“He treated everybody in hockey the same, regardless of their status,” Gendron said. “That was my first observation. I was just this high school hockey coach, but all that mattered to Tim was that I was a hockey coach. John Cunniff was the same way. It was part of that generation. As accomplished as those guys were, they were not arrogant. They raised the next generation of coaches by encouraging guys like me. These were the guys that people like me looked up to. I like to think that I treated others similarly along the way. That’s a lesson that was taught to me by Timmy, John Cunniff and ‘Badger’ Bob Johnson.

“I’m sure Timmy might not like the word ‘legend’ used about him, that wasn’t really his style, but that’s what he is. To a lot of us, that’s exactly what he is.”

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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Coach Tim Taylor

Career Highlights
Harvard University
Men's Ice Hockey Team, Player
1959-63
U.S. Men's National Team, Player
1965, 1967
Yale University Men's Ice Hockey Team,
Head Coach
1976-83/1984-93/1994-2006
U.S. Men's National Team, Assistant Coach
1981, 1983
U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team,
Assistant General Manager/Assistant Coach
1984
U.S. Men's National Team, Head Coach
1989-1992
U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team,
Head Coach
1994
USA Hockey's NTDP, Assistant Coach, Advisor
2007-13
U.S. National Junior Team,
Director of Player Personnel
2009-13
AWARDS
Angier Trophy - 1962
ECAC Coach of the Year -
1987, 1992, 1998
Spencer Penrose Award - 1998
USA Hockey Distinguished
Achievement Award - 2006
Walter Yaciuk Award - 2007

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