Passages: Bob Loy, Renowned Bloomington High School Coach, Dies at age 65


Bob Loy, a long-time coach of Bloomington High School in Illinois, died suddenly on Thursday at age 65.

Loy was the head coach for the boys and girls swimming teams at Bloomington for nearly 40 years before retiring in 2017. Loy was named the National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS) boys swim coach of the year in 2009.

“His method of coaching was through relationships,” Bloomington athletic director Tony Bauman said. “That’s what has made it so hard … that his relationships with those families were deep, and he will be missed. Really what he has done for the swimming community, the Twin Cities, I mean he’s a Raider graduate … his loss is going to be felt by a lot of people.”

Loy graduated from Bloomington in 1973, after an All-American career at Illinois State University, and was named the head coach in 1979. He coached more than 120 all-state performance and 60 All-Americans as well as several state record holders and state champions. He also taught at the school and was an assistant coach in softball and tennis.

When Loy retired as the head coach in 2017, he remained as an assistant coach, a role he planned on continuing this academic year. He also coached at Bloomington-Normal Swim Club. He was coaching as recently as the evening before his death.

“He didn’t have to cheer loud for you, or yell at you … you just wanted to perform well for him,” said John Pratt, an attorney who swam for Bob Loy in the early 1980s. “He was there for you when you did well and when it didn’t go as well as you would’ve hoped. He was an even-tempered, easy guy to be with and a good friend.”

“He took me to a point in my athletic career that I never thought I’d be,” former swimmer Justin Wolfe told The Pantagraph. “He helped me start the journey in life. He helped me with my swimming, my swimming got me to college and my college got me into my career. I can even give Coach a little credit for starting my family. I met my wife (Jessica) on the swim team at SIU. Without swimming, that wouldn’t have happened.”

1 comment

  1. avatar

    One of my favorite guys in the business. I coached in St Charles and only got to visit with Bob at a couple of meets every year. He truly loved coaching and you could tell the kids really appreciated and respected him. So sad to think he’s gone but he leaves a legacy that will live for many years. God bless you Bob.