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 http://swimwinchester.org/
or a charity of your choice.