The Remarkable Career of Fremont Ross’ Bob Shaw
Bob Shaw at The Ohio State University
Courtesy of Sportsmen's Blog
Courtesy of Sportsmen's Blog
Fremont Ross has always had a legacy of developing superb athletes. I learned more about one of the greats from Mike Gilbert at this fall’s History Roundtable. It was Bob Shaw! Born in 1921, Shaw was a natural, who enjoyed a remarkable career that began with the Little Giants. He was not only a player in high school, college, and the NFL, but also served as a coach at all levels.
At Ross, he lettered 3 times each in football, basketball, and track. He was First Team All-Ohio in football and basketball and won the shot put and discus at state. Six foot four and 270 pounds, he went on to play right end both on offense and defense for Ohio State. In 1942, Shaw, under the legendary Paul Brown, helped the Buckeyes win their first NCAA National Championship. He also played on the track team that won OSU’s first Western Conference crown. In 1990, he was inducted into the Ross Sports Hall of Fame and in 1996 the OSU Athletic Hall of Fame.
Shaw served in WWII, but before heading overseas, he married Mary Katherine Hawkins. He fought in Europe with the 104th Infantry Division where he earned a bronze star. Bob later completed his education at Otterbein University.
Bob Shaw’s NFL career began in 1945 when the Cleveland(Los Angeles) Rams drafted him. In his rookie year, the Rams won the championship. He later played for the Chicago Cardinals, becoming the NFL’s leader in receiving touchdowns with 12 in 1950. Bob Shaw was the first player to catch 5 touchdown passes in a single game. He was All-Pro and played in the NFL’s first Pro Bowl. He went on to play for the Calgary Stampeders and the Toronto Argonauts before retiring in 1953.
Shaw served as a receivers coach with the Baltimore (Indiana) Colts, Chicago Bears, the 49ers, and Buffalo Bills. He was with the Baltimore Colts in 1958 when they beat the New York Giants to win the NFL championship, which many have called “The Greatest Game Ever Played.”
Shaw appeared in Brian’s Song, the movie telling of the deep friendship between Hall of Famer Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo, who died from cancer in 1970. He was part of the first coaching staff of the New Orleans Saints. He was head coach of the New Mexico Military Institute. In the Canadian Football League, Shaw coached the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Toronto Argonauts, and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats when in 1976 he was awarded Canadian Football Coach of the Year.
At the close of his professional career, Shaw and his wife and two children returned to Ohio’s Otterbein University, where he served as head coach from 1985 – 1987. He passed away in 2011 in Westerville, Ohio. Despite his extraordinary successes and many tributes, Shaw never lost sight of reality. He once said, “You know, you have to have a good sense of humor and you have to have humility in this business…”