Well, you weren't in constant contact even then, so he certainly wasn't the type of friend you talk to as often as possible, and who calls you whenever he has the chance. This doesn't mean is isn't a true friend, it means you two never were all that close.

It may be he likes you, and just doesn't want to hurt your feelings. That isn't cowardice, it's simply not wanting to hurt your feelings. And it may also be that he's dead, or in jail, or has cancer, or ran away with the circus. If you aren't willing to solve this problem, that's on you, not him.