Tom Eccleston
Career highlights

Thomas E. "Tom" Eccleston Jr. 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 only 1982–83 has 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]

College Head Coaching record[5]Edit

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Providence Friars (Division I Independent) (1956-57–1960-61)
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: 51-49-1
Providence Friars (ECAC Hockey) (1961-62–1963-64)
1961-62 Providence 11-8-2 8-7-2 14th ECAC Quarterfinals
1962-63 Providence 13-8-2 13-4-2 5th ECAC Quarterfinals
1963-64 Providence 19-7-0 16-3-0 1st NCAA Consolation (Loss)
Providence: 43-23-4 37-14-4
Total: 94-72-5

      National Champion         Conference Regular Season Champion         Conference Tournament Champion
      Conference Regular Season & Conference Tournament Champion       Conference Division Champion


  1. "Providence Men's Hockey Team History", Retrieved on 2014-07-24. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Thomas Eccleston, Jr.", Brown Bears. Retrieved on 2014-07-24. 
  3. "Current, Former Hockey Friars To Take Part In Two Special Events As Part Of Museum Exhibit", Providence Friars. Retrieved on 2014-07-24. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "PLAYERS; Still Coaching Hockey at 76", The New York Times, 1987-01-17. Retrieved on 2014-07-24. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "2012-13 Providence Friars Media Guide", Retrieved on 2014-07-24. 

External linksEdit

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Tony Frasca
Spencer Penrose Award
Succeeded by
James Fullerton

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.