KINGSTON – Tom Drennan passed away this past Sunday, with his family by his side. Drennan wore many hats over the course of his 81-year life. He’s most well known for spending 22 successful years as head coach of the URI golf team, but he was also an athletic director and coach at Roger Williams, a girls basketball coach at South Kingstown High School, and an assistant coach with the URI men’s basketball team, among many other things.
“I know that I speak for our entire department when I say that we are heartbroken about Tom’s passing,” URI director of athletics Thorr Bjorn said. “It truly was an honor to work alongside Tom. He was a man of great integrity who was an incredible mentor to countless student-athletes, as well as colleagues. I will certainly miss our conversations and the friendship we developed over the past 13 years.”
If there was an honor that could have been bestowed upon Drennan, it was. He was inducted into the Golf Coaches Association of America Hall of Fame in 2008, and won the Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year award nine times. A PC grad, Drennan spent time at Roger Williams University before former URI head coach Jack Kraft gave him a shot as an assistant with the men’s basketball team in 1973.
After a stint coaching his daughter with the SKHS girls basketball squad, Drennan was hired by URI associate athletic director Jack Vanner as URI’s golf coach in 1988. He served in that role until the end of the 2010 season. The Rams made it to NCAA regional play 16 straight times under Drennan, from 1992 to 2007.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Tom’s wife Nancy, as well as all of his children and grandchildren,” Bjorn added. “I hope they are able to find a sense of comfort and pride in knowing the positive impact he had on so, so many lives. We are all better people for the time we shared with him.”
All told, Drennan spent 50 years patrolling different sidelines. He coached a host of different sports at the NCAA, NJCAA and high school levels.
The family is asking for donations to be made in Coach Drennan’s name to the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) RI Chapter, P.O. Box 41659, Providence, RI 02940.