Dalhousie Tigers lose coaching legend Dr. Carolyn Savoy


Mar 18, 2015

It is with tremendous sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. Carolyn Savoy of Halifax, N.S. (originally Saint John, N.B.).

Carolyn started her coaching and teaching careers at St. Francis Xavier University, where she stayed for seven years before landing at Dalhousie University. The Tigers women’s basketball coach from 1977 to 2009, Carolyn was an associate professor in the School of Health and Human Performance before retiring in 2011. In addition to her coaching and teaching duties, she was a University Senator for Health Professions (2000-2002), President of the Dalhousie Faculty Association (1999-2000) and Chair of the Healthy Dalhousie Committee (1998-1999). She was also a member of the Dalhousie Faculty Association negotiating team and media spokesperson during the strike in 2002.

A graduate of the University of New Brunswick in 1969, Carolyn received her Masters of Education from Boston College in 1972; a Certificate in Public Administration from Dalhousie in 1986; and a PhD in Sport Psychology from the University of Tennessee in 1992.

Carolyn’s passion and commitment to the sport of basketball reached far beyond her time with the Tigers. She was the sport psychologist of the University of Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team when they won the NCAA Championship in 1991. A former president of Basketball Nova Scotia, she was the technical chair for the Pan American wheel chair games in 1982. A member of Canada Basketball’s Board of Directors from 1981 to 1987, she was the chair of the National Coaching School for Women in 1988. A master course conductor and Canada Basketball level 4 coach, Carolyn was the head coach of Nova Scotia’s Canada Games women’s basketball team in 2001 and was an assistant coach with Canada’s junior national team in 1979.

Along the way, Carolyn received many accolades. She was inducted into the Saint John New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame in 2003, the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame in 2012 and will be inducted into the Dalhousie Tigers Sport Hall of Fame this coming May. She received the Progress Club Women of Excellence Award, the Basketball Nova Scotia Frank Baldwin Award and the Dalhousie University Sandy Young Award in 2010. Carolyn was a five-time AUAA/AUS coach of the year while leading her Tigers to 11 conference wins and five AUAA/AUS championship titles. She is the winningest women’s basketball coach in CIAU/CIS history with 858.

Carolyn published many articles as well as her book The Art of Coaching (2005).

Carolyn was passionate about her family, coaching, basketball, the promotion of women in leadership, sports psychology, education, mentoring and healthy living. Left to grieve are her best friend and husband, Dave Robertson, stepdaughters Laurie Ann Underhill (Terry) and Jan Coulombe (Marc); grandchildren Cameron Underhill and Ella and Zackary Coulombe; nephews Arthur Savoy (Rhonda) and Andy Savoy (Denise); great-niece Gabrielle and great-nephew Cade Savoy as well as cousins, many dear friends and former student-athletes. Carolyn was predeceased by her parents Val and Doris (Purdy) Savoy, brother Hedley, and niece Elizabeth.

Carolyn will be remembered for her determination, courage, positive attitude, leadership, and sense of humour to all who knew her as a coach, a mentor and a cherished friend. Her mantra was to “talk the talk and walk the walk”. She believed in fighting for what’s important to you, and she did just that, right until the end of her journey.

It was her request that in lieu of flowers, all donations be made to the Dr. Carolyn Savoy Award of Excellence Scholarship Fund at Dalhousie University.

A memorial celebration honouring Carolyn will be held at a later date.

Scott Harrigan
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