Robert Bigelow

Robert S Bigelow

Saturday, December 26th, 1953 - Tuesday, August 18th, 2020
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Former NBA Player, Author, and International Speaker,

Robert (Bob) Bigelow, age 66 of Winchester MA, passed away suddenly on August 18th.
Bob grew up in Winchester and was a star athlete at Winchester High School. As captain of the men’s basketball team, he set scoring records and led the team to appearances in multiple state playoff tournaments.
As both a top student and a top basketball talent, he was recruited to the University of Pennsylvania, where he played under Coach Chuck Daly. During his time at Penn he emerged as a standout player. At Penn from 1973-1975, the Quakers earned three consecutive Ivy League Championships and three consecutive invitations to the NCAA Basketball Tournament. In his 1974-1975 season he led his team in field goal percentages and earned First Team All Big 5 honors. Bob was later inducted into the Philadelphia Big 5 Hall of Fame.
In the 1975 NBA draft, Bob was selected in the first round by the Kansas City (now Sacramento) Kings who took him with the 13th overall pick. His career also included playing for the San Diego (now Los Angeles) Clippers and the Boston Celtics.
After his NBA career, Bob spent two years as an assistant basketball coach at Tufts University, where he was afforded the opportunity to work with young players and to develop his own skills as a coach.
After coaching at Tufts, Bob completed his MBA degree at Babson College, where he developed an interest in entrepreneurial studies. Shortly after graduation, Bob co-founded a successful Service Quality firm, The MarComm Group. Bob worked to scale the company and later served on the Board.
At this point Bob returned to his real passion, sports, coaching and developing research-based practices to help both coaches and players. He devoted thousands of hours researching and lecturing about organized youth sports and its effects on children and adults. Since 1993, he conducted over 2500 talks and clinics worldwide. Bob was also selected as one of the “100 Most Influential Sports Educators” by the Institute for International Sport at the University of Rhode Island.
Bob also co-authored two top selling books on youth sports and multiple coaching DVD’s:
Just Let the Kids Play: How to Stop Other Adults from Ruining Your Child's Fun and Success in Youth Sports written with sports journalists, Tom Moroney and Linda Hall.
Youth Sports: Still Failing Our Kids - How to Really Fix It written with Doug Abrams
Among Bob’s many achievements and talents perhaps his greatest gift was his ability to genuinely connect with people. He did not care where you were from or what your status; he genuinely took an interest in you. When you talked with Bob you came away feeling as if he was your best friend. He was down to earth, no airs and genuinely interested in you and what you were doing, and if possible, how he could help get you there.
Bob was a true life force, full of energy, life and fun. He led his life simply but powerfully with an unquenchable passion to connect with and help those around him. At 6’7” Bob was in many ways a larger than life figure not only in height and appetite, but also in his ability to talk. That larger than life presence drew us to him and warmed our lives, and now that he is gone leaves an equally large void that we will struggle to fill.
Perhaps most central to Bob’s life was the deep love for his family and his extended network of friends locally and around the world. He was a much-beloved husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, and uncle.
Bob was married for 36 years to Nancy, the love of his life. Nancy coached the Tufts Women’s Swim Team for 36 seasons. Together they raised two boys, David and Stephen. Bob and Nancy’s first grandchild, Benjamin, the child of David and his wife, Noelle, was welcomed into the world just last week and is the source of sustaining happiness for the entire Bigelow family.
Bob is also survived by his three siblings:
Katharine “Kit” Bigelow an Internationally recognized religious freedom and human rights advocate.
Sanford “Sandy” Bigelow a PhD and Principal of Vanguard Global Associates
Edward “Ted” Bigelow, Pastor of Grace Bible Church in Colorado.
Graveside burial will be private and a Memorial Service will be held at a later date when larger gatherings are allowed. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Bob’s memory to Swim Winchester, PO Box 44, Winchester, MA 01890 or a charity of your choice.
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Sue Tendy

Posted at 12:55pm
I met Bob through his wife, Nancy, many years ago. I was struck by the fact that Bob’s gentle energy and kind heart was a great complement to Nancy’s similarly enthusiastic and untiring spirit. Together they have touched more lives, and will continue to do so, through their coaching careers than anyone will ever know. I can safely say that every tribute here written for Bob represents at least a thousand others that have had similar experiences.
My prayers are with Nancy, David and Stephen.

Bette Viano

Posted at 06:16pm
We have been thinking about Bob and his family a lot, and sharing our remembrances with each other as we go through the day. We have also been remembering the same things Ralph Roberto shared in his moving tribute to Bob -- Bob's sincerity and lack of pretense, how he loved to chat up anyone and everyone so all felt included, and how he never stopped being a kid. That love of life spreads so much joy. Our son Gabe's memory of Bob running into the cold, cold water at Crane Beach with all the kids proves that point. Bob's friends' children adored Bob and his sons were generous in sharing his affections with so many. And we know that Bob "alway showed up" -- even to Gabe's soccer games -- and with his proficient use of the phone (a lost art these days) he kept folks connected.
We'll be thinking of you all, and hoping that you find some peace and joy in knowing that Bob made the world a better place for us. Bette Viano and Bill Porter Boston, MA

Kathy Tirrell Johnson

Posted at 09:48am
My deepest condolences to Bob’s family. What a profound loss for so many who’s lives Bob touched. From the Nahant Tirrell family, Our profound sympathy to all the Bigelow family. 🙏🏻
Kathy Tirrell Johnson

Rich Irving

Posted at 08:24pm
My condolences to the Bigelow family. Bob was a true pioneer and has left a mark that will live on.

To say that Bob was a major influence on my thoughts and actions in the youth sports realm after we met in 2000 would be an understatement. Like so many others, it started with attending a talk and led to my own youth sports journey that continues today.

Though youth sports brought us together, I will miss our many conversations about family and life....

Rich Irving


Jeff Hyde

Posted at 02:41pm
Bob was a larger than life figure, but gentle giant and all around nice guy who touched so many lives in a positive way. I grew up with his son David playing basketball and Bob was an instrumental figuring in coaching and guiding us. I also received my MBA from Babson and I had no idea Bob did as well! Bob is truly a legend, and legends never die. My sincere sympathies and love to Nancy, Dave, and Stephen.

Bob always had time to visit people or show up, or lend a hand or a helpful ear. He showed up at my grandmother's funeral even though he didn't know her, but just because he knew me and my family. My mom never forgot that. He represented Winchester and his family in such a positive way. He will be dearly missed in the community.

Jeff Hyde

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