Dan Wood was a head coach in the NASL from 1978-1980. (From the Caribous of Colorado media guide)
By Michael Lewis
Former Cornell University and Caribous of Colorado head coach Dan Wood passed away on Thursday morning.
He was 73.
Wood died from heart failure at Tradition Hospital ICU in Port St. Lucie, Fla. after a long illness.
Born in Elmira, N.Y. on May 21, 1946, Wood forged a reputation as one of the best college soccer coaches in the nation. He also was known as Dr. Wood. As an NCAA post-graduate scholar-athlete fellow at Cornell, Wood earned a doctorate in the sociology of education, his dissertation entitled “Educating in Sport.”
During his five-year tenure in the New York upstate school, Wood directed the Big Red to a 52-20-6 mark, reaching the NCAA tournament in as many years. Cornell lost to UCLA in the 1972 NCAA semifinals.
He also is known for recruiting current New England Revolution head coach and former U.S. men’s national coach Bruce Arena, who attended Cornell to pursue an All-American lacrosse career that he started at Nassau Community College. Wood needed Arena to play goal after injuries decimated his goalkeeping depth.
Wood also coached Dave Sarachan, who would go onto become Arena’s assistant coach on the U.S. national team and LA Galaxy before taking over the reins of the national side in 2017.
After leading Cornell to its first Ivy League title in 1975, Wood decided to try the professional ranks. He coached the Tacoma Tides to a second-place finish in the American Soccer League’s Western Division. The team reached the playoff semifinals. He was named assistant coach of the expansion Caribous (North American Soccer League) in 1978 by head coach David Clements before becoming the head man toward the end of the 1979 season.
He coached the team after it moved to Atlanta, but was sacked as Chiefs coach after the team fell to a 5-12 record on June 30.
Chiefs chairman of the board Robert Wussler told him “sports is a dirty business and that I was too clean, too straight forward and too intelligent for it,” Wood said in 1980. “I guess my only comment is that I would hope these attributes would not be a detriment in any job.”
Wood also was an assistant coach with the Minnesota Strikers in 1984 before becoming an accomplished golfer. He earned several victories during four Florida professional mini-tours. He entered the PGA Senior Tour by earning a partial PGA Senior Tour exemption for 1997. In his first season, he recorded sixth- and ninth-place finishes at Napa and Boston. In 1998, he led Monday Qualifiers in winnings.
Wood, predeceased by his parents, Carlton (Carp) and Evelyn Wood, is survived by his wife of 34 years, Sandra Carter Wood, of Port St. Lucie, Florida; his brother and sister-in-law, Tom and Jody Wood, of Bridgewater, New Jersey; his nephew, Adam Wood, also of Bridgewater; and numerous beloved aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews.
His family and friends will remember him for high competence in all things, boundless energy and enthusiasm, and both loyalty and generosity to his formative Those wishing to celebrate and commemorate Dan’s life are urged to contribute to the scholar-athlete scholarship founded in his name at Ithaca High School, by sending a check via US Mail to Dan Wood Fund c/o IPEI, PO Box 4269, Ithaca NY 14852.