Central New York PGA Member Dan Wood passed away from heart failure after a long illness May 7, 2020 in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Dan, an Ithaca native, was a three-time CNY PGA Senior Section champion and most recently worked at Lansing Driving Range. He won the Section Super Senior Division title in 2017.
The Central New York PGA Staff expresses its deepest sympathy to Dan’s family and friends.
Dan is survived by his wife of 34 years, Sandra Wood, his brother and sister-in law, Tom & Jody Wood, his nephew, Adam Wood and numerous beloved aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. His full obituary is below.
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
Daniel Phillip Wood
Dan Wood passed in the early morning of May 7, 2020, at the Tradition Hospital ICU in Port St. Lucie, Florida, from heart failure after a long illness.
An outstanding student and athlete throughout his childhood in Ithaca, New York, he perpetuated those habits of mind and body throughout his adult life. His working career consisted mainly of coaching men’s soccer at the collegiate and professional levels, owning and managing a golf course, competing as an amateur and professional golfer, and coaching a women’s college golf team. The college coaching duties that bookended his other professional lives were in many ways the most fulfilling, impactful, and memorable phases of his career.
During each of his five years as Cornell University’s head soccer coach, beginning when he was 24, his teams qualified for the NCAA post-season tournament, advancing to the National Final Four in 1972. The career winning-percentage record holder among Cornell soccer coaches, he led his 1975 team to the program’s first-ever Ivy League soccer championship.
Returning to college coaching at the end of his career, he founded and co-coached, with his wife, Ithaca College’s women’s golf team, the results nearly rivaling those at Cornell. Over seven years, ending in 2015, the Woods led their teams to three top-ten finishes in GolfStat’s season-ending national poll, number-one rankings in New York State’s NCAA DIII for four consecutive years, and a tie for fifth in the 2014 NCAA DIII championship.
Between those stints in college coaching, both in his hometown, Wood ventured into professional soccer coaching—in Tacoma, Denver, Atlanta, and Minneapolis—and, beginning in 1985, owning and managing a golf course in Orlando. Along the way, he honed his competitive edge as a golfer.
Following multiple wins on each of four Florida professional mini-tours, Wood entered the PGA Senior Tour by earning a partial PGA Senior Tour exemption for 1997. In his rookie season, he recorded sixth- and ninth-place finishes at Napa and Boston. In 1998, he led Monday Qualifiers in winnings, with highlights of that year including his tie for seventh at the U.S. Senior Open at Riviera, and ninth- and tenth-place finishes at Tampa and Napa.
When he left the tour to resume college coaching, he continued to compete professionally, winning numerous age-group events. His professional golfing successes more than confirmed his early athletic promise of being named a high school all-American in basketball at Ithaca High, while also starring in soccer and baseball, and appearing in his adolescence at Forest Hills in tennis.
He likewise confirmed the high academic promise he had shown in Ithaca’s public schools, completing a bachelor’s degree at Tufts University, Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude, while lettering in four sports and captaining the soccer team. As an NCAA post-graduate scholar-athlete fellow at Cornell, he earned a Ph. D in the sociology of education, his dissertation aptly entitled “Educating in Sport.”
Predeceased by his parents, Carlton (Carp) and Evelyn Wood, he 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 institutions and loved ones. 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.