Fred Shero, a Renaissance man of hockey who won two Stanley Cups as coach of the Philadelphia Flyers, died yesterday. He was 65.
Shero died about 5:30 a.m. at Cooper Hospital in Camden, N.J., after a long battle with cancer, Flyers spokesman Rodger Gottlieb said.
Shero coached the Flyers from 1971-72 through '77-78. The Flyers won the Stanley Cup in 1974 and 1975 and reached the finals in 1976, losing to the Montreal Canadiens. He left the Flyers to coach the New York Rangers from 1978 until November 1980, leading them to the finals in his first season. He rejoined the Flyers as a special consultant last season.
Shero's 734 victories rank 10th among National Hockey League coaches, and his .612 winning percentage is fourth best.
"They called him Freddy the Fog, because he was kind of eccentric in a brilliant sort of way. He was very innovative, but people didn't understand him a lot. He would say things that were kind of obscure. He was an enigma," Gottlieb said.
Shero played the violin, boxed for 10 years and took a correspondence course in law. He was also known to spend a good deal of his time in public libraries and was a big fan of ## Shakespeare and Dickens.
Considered one of the top innovators in coaching techniques, Shero traveled widely throughout Europe, especially in the Soviet Union, to study hockey coaching and training methods. Shero was the first NHL coach to hire a full-time assistant, and he later worked with two or more full-time coaching aides.