Ranger Exes Memorial - RHS Class of 1932

Bob King ROBERT "BOB" BURROW KING, 81, was born June 3, 1913 and died June 19, 1994. He graduated from Ranger High School in 1932 at Ranger, TX & worked for a year before starting college. He went to work as an assistant football coach at Furman University, in Greenville, SC, under Dizzy McLeod after graduation and held that position until WWII. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1941-1945 after which he returned to Furman. He married Laura Gladys Mason in April of 1938 at Greenville, SC. A daughter, Karen, was born while he was in the Navy in Chapel Hill, NC. A son, Bob, was born in Greenville, SC. Very soon thereafter Bob and his wife, Gladys, moved to Champaign, IL, where he served as an assistant football coach under Ray Elliott at the University of Illinois. In 1957 Bob returned to Greenville as head football coach at Furman. He retired from coaching in 1972. (Information from Bob King, Jr. of Greenville, SC) The following article was printed when he was given the honor of SOUTHERN CONFERENCE COACH OF THE YEAR. RANGER NATIVE IS SOUTHERN CONFERENCE COACH OF THE YEAR Bob King, a native of Ranger, TX, has been named Southern Conference Football Coach of the Year. The Furman University head coach was honored at a testimonial dinner held in Greenville, South Carolina. Groundwork for King's career was laid during his high school days in the early 1930's where his performance earned for him an invitation to attend Furman University. Money was not plentiful in 1933, but determination overrode that obstacle and King made the journey via freight train for the bargain price of $2.75. He walked from the station to the Furman campus wearing a then unstylish week's growth of beard and carrying a pair of seersucker pants in a paper bag. King proved his ability in those "House of Magic" days as a fine pass receiver, end, placement kicker and ball carrier under the coaching of A.P. (Dizzy) McLeod. Upon graduating Cum Laude in 1937 he had won nine athletic letters and was captain of the State Championship football team his senior year. Returning to Furman as assistant coach with a subsequent four year tour of duty with the U.S. Navy and another season at Furman, King joined the coaching staff at Illinois where for eleven years he led his men to many victories, including the Rose Bowl 40-7 win over Stanford in 1952. A plane replaced freight train transportation when, in 1957, he returned to Greenville to become head coach at Furman. Thirteen years later, things are still bright for the man who has twice been named South Carolina Coach of the Year and in 1961 was elected chairman of the Board of Review for the American Football Coaches Association. The tall Texan who takes football seriously but calmly lives by the philosophy that "What you do with the boys you have and what they make of themselves is the important thing." Bob is the son of the late R.O. and Lillie Brown King, pioneer Ranger residents. Bob King, as featured in Furman Football 2001 Media Handbook... Bob King, who as a Furman athlete in the 1930s had no peer, and who later served as the school’s head football coach longer than anyone else, stands as a giant in the pantheon of Paladin athletic greats. A native of oil-rich Ranger, TX, King came to Furman in 1934 after hitchhiking 100 miles to Fort Worth and spending two nights on a succession of freight trains. Once on campus, he quickly made a name for himself starring as an end on teams that beat both Clemson and South Carolina twice in his three seasons of play. Described by Clemson coach Frank Howard as “the greatest college end I ever saw,” King earned all-state honors three times, and in 1936 became the first player in Furman history to garner All-Southern Conference accolades. In addition, he was an outstanding center and forward in basketball, and set the state record in the shot put and discus. Described by the Bonhomie as “a well-rounded specimen of humanity,” King graduated cum laude from Furman in 1937. Shortly thereafter, he served as an assistant Coach under Furman’s A.P. “Dizzy” McLeod for five years before joining the Navy during WWII. Following the war, he returned to coaching as an assistant at the University of Illinois, where he remained for 12 years. King returned to Furman in 1958 as head football coach, and held the post for 15 years while compiling most of a 60-88-4 record during a period in which Furman’s football program was primarily supported on the basis of a player’s proven financial need-a philosophy that severely handicapped recruiting and competitiveness. Nevertheless, King remained upbeat, and in 1970 was named Southern Conference Coach-of- the-Year after directing the Paladins to an 8-3 mark. Furman president Dr. David Shi, who played football under King from 1970-72, said: “Bob King was much more than a coach to us. He was a wise counselor, a caring friend, a surrogate father. He was a man of the old stamp who believed in hard hitting, strenuous effort, fair play, team spirit, and school loyalty. There was a nobility to his character, a quiet dignify of soul and moral gravity that ballasted his relentlessly optimistic personality. How inspiring it was to have him lead us in the Furman fight song as we headed to Sirrine Stadium. How energizing it was to hear him begin summer practices at daybreak by pointing up to Paris Mountain and shouting to us, “God Almighty, boys, what a day!” No one loved “Furman more than Bob King. No one better understood the meaning of the scholar athlete.”