Former NASL and Cornell coach Dan Wood dies at the age of 73

Dan Wood, who took Bruce Arena's Cornell University to the NCAA final four at the age of 26 and later coached in the NASL and ASL, died on Thursday at the age of 73 in Port St. Lucie, Florida, from heart failure following a long illness.

His college coaching career spanned five decades, from five years as the Cornell men's soccer coach (1971-75) to six years as the Ithaca College women's golf coach (2010-15).

Wood lettered in four sports at Ithaca High School and graduated from Tufts University. He returned home to Ithaca and earned a doctorate in the sociology of education at Cornell, which he led to the NCAA semifinals in 1972 when it fell to UCLA, 1-0, in the semifinals.

Wood's players at Cornell includes two future U.S. men's national team coaches: Dave Sarachan and Arena.

Wood led Cornell to its first Ivy League title in 1975 but left after the season amid a financial crisis in the athletic department. He said he was "tired of being a bus driver. You find yourself counting jockstraps and begging for money ... There's little satisfaction in it.”

He coached the Tacoma Tides in the ASL in 1976 -- Arena was his goalkeeper -- and then joined the NASL's Colorado Caribou as its assistant coach in 1978, finishing the season as head coach, a position he held when it moved to Atlanta and became the Chiefs.

Wood was also an accomplished golfer, turning pro in 1985. At the age of 46, he qualified for the 1992 PGA Championship. He didn't make the cut but finished ahead of such golfers as Curtis Strange, Ernie Els, Ian Woosnam and Arnold Palmer. Wood entered the PGA Senior Tour with a partial exemption for 1997 and finished tied for seventh at the U.S. Senior Open in 1998,  finishing two shots ahead of Jack Nicklaus.

In 2010, he founded women's golf program at Ithaca College -- where his father Carp Wood had been the athletic director as well as men's soccer, men's basketball and baseball coach -- and led the Bombers a tie for fifth in the 2014 NCAA Division III championship.

"The passing of Dan Wood is very sad news to myself and all that knew him," said Sarachan in a statement released by Cornell. "Dan had a profound influence on me and without his belief in me, my career as a student, professional player and coach could have taken me down a different path. He was a brilliant guy, fabulous teacher, passionate devotee to detail in both soccer and golf and a wonderful human being."
1 comment about "Former NASL and Cornell coach Dan Wood dies at the age of 73".
  1. Francisco Marcos, May 9, 2020 at 2:16 p.m.

    A great person, a true do-it-yourself type, owe favors to no one to get where he got...RIP Dan.

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