DURHAM, N.H. -- Charles E. Holt, an 18-year head coach of the University of New Hampshire men’s ice hockey program, died early Friday morning in his Durham home at the age of 77 following a long bout with cancer.
"Charlie Holt's achievements as a superb and universally respected hockey coach at UNH are well known," said UNH President Joan R. Leitzel. "In addition, he left a great legacy on the ways student-athletes, coaches and citizens, in general, should conduct themselves and treat one another. His high ideals for perfection, professionalism, mutual respect, discipline and excellence will always be remembered and he will continue to serve as a role model for us and posterity."
Described as an innovator, a visionary and "way ahead of his time" by innumerable players and peers, Holt was a three-time recipient of the Spencer T. Penrose Award as the nation’s most outstanding college hockey coach. He was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 1997.
"As great a hockey coach as he was, Charlie Holt was an even greater human being," UNH Senior Associate Athletic Director and former long-time assistant men’s hockey coach David O’Connor said.
In his 18 years at the helm of the Wildcats, Holt compiled a 347-232-18 overall record and guided the team to the 1978-79 ECAC championship and three NCAA Tournament appearances. Prior to his tenure at New Hampshire, Holt recorded 65 victories as the head coach at Colby College.
Former UNH players Andy Brickley, Gordie Clark, Bobby Gould, Dave Lumley, Norman Lacomb, Bruce Crowder, Cap Raeder, Jamie Hislop, Bob Miller, and Rod Langway were some of Holt’s many student-athletes who went on to play in the NHL. Other players, such as UNH’s own head coaches Richard Umile and Bob Kullen, Mike McShane of Providence College, Bill Beaney of Middlebury College and Bob Francis of the Phoenix Coyotes, have followed in Holt’s footsteps behind the bench.
"Most people think of Charlie Holt as the legendary coach from UNH," Umile said. "I knew him as a coach and mentor, but mostly as a dear friend whom I will deeply miss."
Holt is survived by his wife, Nancy, and his children, Brad and Brenda.
Services will be announced at a later time. In lieu of flowers, the family wishes that donations be sent to the UNH Foundation, Elliott Alumni Center, Durham, NH 03824.