In Memoriam: Robert Laycoe, 1947- 2020

It is with great sadness that the School of Kinesiology has learned that one of its highly noted alumni, Bob Laycoe passed away on December 28th, 2020 at the age of 73 after a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

The son of Hal Laycoe, the NHL Canucks first head coach, Bob graduated from the School of Kinesiology (then known as the School of Physical Education) with his Masters of Physical Education in 1969. While studying for his masters, Bob played football for the Thunderbirds and was named the Most Inspirational Player. This same 1968/69 season Bob was a member of the UBC wrestling team and was the Western Canadian Champion, National (USPORTS) Champion and Canadian National Champion.

In 1973, after serving four years as head football coach and Athletics Director at the University of Saskatchewan, Bob returned to UBC to work in the School of Kinesiology (P.E.) as the head coach of the UBC wrestling team and assistant coach with the Thunderbird football team. Bob continued teaching a full academic schedule in the School and was also involved in academic planning for the school.

From 1973 through 1979 Bob guided the wrestling team to four Western Canadian titles, and in 1978 he was named CIS Wrestling Coach of the Year. And from 1973 through 1987, Laycoe partnered with head coach Frank Smith to coach some of UBC’s best football teams including the 1982 and 1986 national champions. Bob is still lauded by coaches and players for his strength and conditioning program, his thoroughness, his motivation and his meticulous preparation.

Frank Smith remembers Laycoe “Immediately made an impact on the program coaching defence… Bob’s rapport with his players was remarkable… Bob’s defence… was one of the most feared in the country.” He was considered a great coach and mentor to many.

Bob left UBC for the University of Toronto where he coached the Blues football team for 3 decades from 1988-2001 and turned the U of T team around to guide them to the 1993 Yates and Vanier Cup championship titles.

In 2019, Bob was selected for induction into the UBC Sports Hall of Fame. We are proud to include Laycoe as one of our alumni.

Bob is survived by his wife of 52 years, Suzanne and children David and Tonya and granddaughter Stevie in British Colombia, brother Bryan in Ridgefield, Washington, and sister Rhonda in Portland. Our condolences go out to his family.