Tom Eccleston

Last updated
Tom Eccleston
Biographical details
DiedDecember 20, 2000
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1956–1964 Providence
Head coaching record
Accomplishments and honors
1964 ECAC Hockey regular season
1964 ECAC Hockey Tournament
1964 Spencer Penrose Award
1988 Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame
Providence Athletic Hall of Fame 2019 RI Hockey Hall of Fame

Thomas E. Eccleston Jr. (1910 – December 20, 2000) was an American ice hockey, football and baseball coach. Eccleston spent most of his career at Burrillville High School in some capacity but was also the head coach for Providence for eight seasons. [1]



Tom Eccleston graduated from Brown University in 1932, playing four years of soccer, and immediately moved into a teaching position at Burrillville High in Burrillville, Rhode Island. [2] Initially a history teacher and football coach, Eccleston eventually added the coaching duties of baseball and ice hockey to his responsibilities, winning state championships in all three sports. [3] For 23 years Eccleston declined all offers to coach at the collegiate level but finally accepted an offer from Providence in 1956 to alleviate issues that had arisen while coaching his sons. [4]

Eccleston became the fifth head coach at Providence (the second since the program restarted after World War II) and immediately provided the school with its best record in 1956-57 at 11-7. [5] Eccleston continued to keep the Friars in a strong position for the duration of his tenure, including its transition into ECAC Hockey in the early 1960s, recruiting players like Lou Lamoriello, Bob Bellemore and Larry Kish. In eight seasons behind the bench Eccleston had only one losing season and in 1963-64 gave Providence its first conference title and NCAA tournament appearance. The '64 season was the best in Providence's history to that point and very few have topped it. For the outstanding year Eccleston received the Spencer Penrose Award and then stepped down from his position to devote more attention to being the school superintendent in Burrillville. [2]

In 1987, after 32 years away, Eccleston returned to Burrillville High to coach the ice hockey team when it was in jeopardy and revived the program. [4] He was enshrined in the Rhode Island Hockey Hall of Fame in 2019.

Head coaching record

Statistics overview
Providence Friars (Independent)(1956–1961)
1956-57 Providence 11-7-0
1957-58 Providence 11-11-0
1958-59 Providence 7-13-1
1959-60 Providence 11-9-0
1960-61 Providence 11-9-0
Providence Friars(ECAC Hockey)(1961–1964)
1961-62 Providence 11-8-28-7-214th ECAC Quarterfinals
1962-63 Providence 13-8-213-4-25th ECAC Quarterfinals
1963-64 Providence 19-7-016-3-01st NCAA Consolation (Loss)

      National champion        Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion        Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion      Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion


Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fernie Flaman</span> Ice hockey player

Ferdinand Charles Carl "Fernie" Flaman was a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman who played for the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs in the National Hockey League. He was known as a physical defensive defenceman and a consummate bodychecker. As a coach, Flaman was successful at the collegiate ranks as the head coach of Northeastern University.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Brian Burke (ice hockey)</span> American-Canadian ice hockey player, executive, and analyst

Brian P. Burke is an American-Canadian ice hockey executive and former analyst serving as president of hockey operations for the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League (NHL). He has also served as the general manager of the Hartford Whalers, Vancouver Canucks, Anaheim Ducks and Toronto Maple Leafs, as well as president of hockey operations for the Calgary Flames. Burke was also the general manager for the United States national men's ice hockey team for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and is a member of Rugby Canada's board of directors. Burke was inducted into the Rhode Island Hockey Hall of Fame in 2019.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lou Lamoriello</span> American ice hockey executive

Louis P. Lamoriello is an American professional ice hockey executive who is the president of hockey operations and general manager for the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League (NHL). He is also the former general manager of both the New Jersey Devils and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Lamoriello's tenure as general manager of the New Jersey Devils from 1987 to 2015 was the third-longest by an NHL general manager with a single team, following those of Conn Smythe and Art Ross. Lamoriello resigned from New Jersey on May 4, 2015, and became the 16th general manager of the Maple Leafs on July 23 of the same year.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dave Gavitt</span>

David Roy Gavitt was an American college basketball coach and athletic director at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island. He was also well known as the first commissioner of the Big East Conference and as part of the committee which created the 1992 Olympic basketball "Dream Team".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rhode Island Rams</span> Intercollegiate sports teams of the University of Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Rams are the athletic programs of the University of Rhode Island, based in Kingston, Rhode Island, United States. The Rams compete in the NCAA's Division I as a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference. The football team, however, competes in the Colonial Athletic Association of the NCAA's Football Championship Subdivision, as the A-10 does not sponsor football. The program's athletic director is Thorr Bjorn.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Providence Friars</span>

The Providence Friars are the intercollegiate athletic teams that represent Providence College, located in Providence, Rhode Island. They compete in the Big East Conference for every sport except for ice hockey, where they compete in Hockey East. The Big East Conference was founded in 1979 by former athletic director and men's basketball coach Dave Gavitt. On December 15, 2012, Providence and the other seven Catholic, non-FBS schools announced that they were departing the Big East for a new conference; on March 7, 2013, it was officially confirmed that Providence's new conference would operate under the Big East name. The women's volleyball team, which had been an associate member of the America East Conference before the Big East split, remained in that conference for one more season before joining the Big East for the 2014 season.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Joe Cavanagh</span> American attorney and ice hockey player

Joseph Vincent Cavanagh Jr. is an American attorney and former ice hockey player. Cavanagh was a three-time all-state selection as a high schooler in Rhode Island. He went on to play hockey at Harvard University where he earned multiple awards including being named an All-American for three straight years. He left Harvard as the school's all-time assist leader which has since been passed. However, he remains the Beanpot's all-time leading scorer. An injury lead him to stop pursuing a career in hockey. He was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1994 and named one of the top 50 players in ECAC history in 2010. Following his hockey career Cavanagh began practicing law becoming a successful attorney. He is a member of the Rhode Island Bar Association and the Board of Bar Examiners.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Zellio Toppazzini</span> Canadian ice hockey player

Zellio Louis Peter Toppazzini was a Canadian professional ice hockey player who played 123 games in the National Hockey League with the Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, and Chicago Black Hawks between 1949 and 1956. The rest of his career, which lasted from 1948 to 1964, was mainly spent with the Providence Reds of the American Hockey League. After He was the brother of Jerry Toppazzini, who played in the NHL from 1952 to 1964, and the great-uncle of Justin Williams, who played in the NHL from 2000 to 2020.

Bob Bellemore is a known presence in Rhode Island's ice hockey and baseball communities. He is a former standout goaltender and baseball player for Providence College in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. He has also served as the goaltending coach for the National Hockey League's New Jersey Devils.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Toll Gate High School</span> Public high school in Warwick, Rhode Island, United States

Toll Gate High School is a public high school in Warwick, Rhode Island on Centerville Road. It serves education to grades 9-12 and has approximately 1100 students and 97 teachers. The current timeblock for a school day is 7:24am–1:51pm.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Providence Friars women's ice hockey</span>

The Providence Friars women's ice hockey team is a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I college ice hockey program that represents the Providence College. The Friars are a member of Hockey East. They play at the 3,030-seat Schneider Arena in Providence, Rhode Island.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Providence Friars men's ice hockey</span> Rhode Island team

The Providence Friars men's ice hockey team is a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I college ice hockey program that represents Providence College. The Friars are a member of Hockey East. The skating Friars are currently coached by Nate Leaman has been the head coach of the skating Friars since 2011, leading them to a national championship in 2015. They play at the 3,030-seat Schneider Arena in Providence, Rhode Island.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Malcolm Greene Chace</span> American financier and textile industrialist

Malcolm Greene Chace was an American financier and textile industrialist who was instrumental in bringing electric power to New England. He was a pioneer of the sport of ice hockey in the United States, and was Yale University's first hockey captain. He was also an amateur tennis player whose highest ranking was U.S. No. 3 in 1895.

Tim Army is an American former professional ice hockey player who is currently serving as the head coach of the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League (AHL). Army was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 9th round of the 1981 NHL Entry Draft.

Alex Nahigian was an American college baseball and football player and coach. He was the head baseball coach at Providence (1960–1978) and Harvard (1979–1990), making a total of nine NCAA Tournament appearances between the two schools. He also served as an assistant football coach at Brown and Harvard.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2014–15 Providence Friars men's ice hockey season</span>

The 2014–15 Providence Friars men's ice hockey team represented Providence College in the 2014–15 NCAA Division I men's ice hockey season. The team was coached by Nate Leaman, in his 4th season with the Friars. The Friars played their home games at Schneider Arena on campus in Providence, Rhode Island, competing in Hockey East. On April 11, 2015, the Friars defeated the Boston University Terriers 4–3 at TD Garden to win the first national championship in program history.

Scott Gordon Borek is an American ice hockey player and coach who has been involved with college hockey for over 35 years. Currently, Borek is the head coach at Merrimack College.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jim Foster (baseball)</span> American baseball coach

James Thomas Foster is an American baseball coach and former catcher, who is the current head coach of Northwestern Wildcats. He played college baseball for the Providence Friars from 1990 to 1993. He served as the head coach of the Rhode Island Rams (2006–2014) and the Army Blak Knights (2017–2022).


  1. "Providence Men's Hockey Team History". Retrieved 2014-07-24.
  2. 1 2 "Thomas Eccleston, Jr". Brown Bears. Retrieved 2014-07-24.
  3. "Current, Former Hockey Friars To Take Part In Two Special Events As Part Of Museum Exhibit". Providence Friars. Retrieved 2014-07-24.
  4. 1 2 "PLAYERS; Still Coaching Hockey at 76". The New York Times. 1987-01-17. Retrieved 2014-07-24.
  5. 1 2 "2012-13 Providence Friars Media Guide". Retrieved 2014-07-24.
Awards and achievements
Preceded by Spencer Penrose Award
Succeeded by