Tim Taylor, Head Coach of Yale Men's Hockey (1976-2006)
Tim Taylor, who has more wins (337-433-55)than any head coach in the history of Yale hockey, made a name for himself and the Yale hockey program by getting involved in every aspect of the sport. Whether he was leading an Olympic team into battle, coaching an unheralded Yale squad into the NCAA playoffs, moderating a panel at the World Hockey Summit, instructing a youth clinic or teaching his Bulldog players a new system for breaking out of the defensive zone, Taylor made his presence known.
Taylor, the head coach of the 1994 U.S. Olympic team at Lillehammer, spent 28 seasons (does not include two years with Olympic teams) behind the Yale bench and coached more games than anyone in the history of ECACHL hockey. More importantly, he sent future Olympians, National Hockey League stars, professional coaches and well-rounded students out on the ice at Ingalls Rink.
There were many memorable campaigns under Taylor in New Haven, but one stood out the most. The 1997-98 Yale team that was predicted to finish 10th in the ECAC took the conference regular-season championship and a berth in the school's first NCAA Tournament since 1952. That squad (23-9-3, 17-4-1) set school records for overall and ECAC victories, while Taylor swept all three coach of the year awards. Yale's 1997-98 season of miracles, which included an Ivy League title and the emergence of three All-Americans, was built with a solid recruiting effort and bolstered by a commitment to team defense, something the Eli hockey mentor stresses more than anything else.
His defensive efforts helped produce ECAC Player of the Year and Best Defensive Defenseman Ray Giroux and Ken Dryden Award winning goalie Alex Westlund. The Blue, ranked among the nation's top 10 all season, led the ECAC in overall goals per game and team defense and earned its first trip to the conference championships since 1986-87.
The Taylor regime produced one ECACHL title, six Ivy League champions, 19 ECAC playoff teams, a pair of 20-win seasons and many professional skaters. Taylor, the 1997-98 Spencer Penrose Award winner as the American Hockey Coaches Association University Coach of the Year, was a three-time (1986-87, 1991-92, 1997-98) ECAC Coach of the Year and a two-time (1991-92, 1997-98) New England Coach of the Year. He coached all six of Yale's Hobey Baker Award finalists.
Taylor's 1985-86 squad (20-10), which was his best until 1997-98, shattered 16 team and individual records, beat defending national champion RPI twice, upset national finalist Harvard and climbed as high as No. 4 in the national rankings. It took a 3-2 double overtime loss to Cornell in a classic ECAC semifinal to stop the Elis.
In addition to his role with the '94 Olympic Team, the 63-year-old Taylor (who passed Murray Murdoch on the Yale hockey coaching victory list with his 279th on Dec. 4, 2001) had a number of important international assignments, including a role as assistant general manager and assistant coach for the 1984 U.S. Olympic team. He served as head coach of the U.S. National Team at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships four straight years in the 90's, in addition to leading Team USA to its best finish in the 1991 Canada Cup. Taylor, an assistant in the Canada Cup, took over Team USA after Bob Johnson became ill and led the Americans to second place. A two-time assistant for the U.S. National Team (1981 and 1983), Taylor also led the South to a silver medal in the 1987 Olympic Sports Festival.
Taylor, the recipient of USA Hockey's 2006 Distinguished Achievement Award, is a 1963 Harvard graduate. He spent seven years as an assistant at his alma mater before becoming Yale's 10th head coach. He captained the 1963 Crimson team that won the Ivy League and the ECAC championships, and tallied 46 goals and 33 assists for 79 career points in 68 games. Taylor, the recipient of the Angier Trophy for most improved Harvard player his junior season, made the U.S. national team in 1965 and 1967.
Taylor (born March 26, 1942) and his wife, Diana Cooke, reside in Guilford.