It wasn’t hard to find Dan Tyler in the fall. The presence of the man adorned in the Wildcats’ blue and gold was always so conspicuous, but something stood out even more – his booming voice.
“You can hear him all the time,” said former Wildcats head coach Carlos Meraz. “Wherever he was, whether you saw him across the field or calling someone in greeting.
Tyler, a longtime fixture in the football community and on Will C. Wood’s sideline for nearly two decades, died earlier this week after suffering a second battle of cancer. He was 73.
When Meraz took over as head coach at Wood in 2010 and coached for the next eight years, Tyler made his transition into the head coach role comfortable. He immediately joined the ranks of Meraz as one of his assistant coaches.
“He was my right hand man,” Meraz said. “Anything I needed, he would step up whatever it was.”
Working as a campus supervisor during the day, Taylor was always at soccer practice, games and even off-season training helping the kids. When current head coach Jacob Wright took over the program in 2019, he said Tyler always recognized what he called “The Bigger Picture.”
“There are so many moving parts in a football show,” Wright said. “He was able to coordinate these and be proactive and not reactive. He was something like two steps ahead. As the new head coach, he helped me a lot.”
What was evident in his work in athletics, according to Wright, was his love of working for children.
“He bonded with kids and he loved the game of football,” Wright said. “He saw it as a means of living right, work ethic, dedication, responsibility and accountability.”
In an email from director Adam Rich, it said many will remember him for the character and his desire to help the kids who needed extra support along the way.
“He’s always been a huge supporter of struggling students and has worked hard to help kids stay and achieve their educational goals,” Rich said in the email.
While he was a constant presence for the Wildcats, his work in football was felt throughout Vacaville and also worked on youth football programs. Vacaville High football coach Mike Papadopoulos will miss seeing Tyler on the gridiron.
“Unfortunately, we have lost a very influential mentor in our city,” Papadopoulos said. “He was a friend to everyone”
Information about services, flowers and/or donations is expected to be announced.