After a brief but courageous battle against cancer, Bob Taft’s death was deeply felt in the Scottish basketball community. Bob was a good player. Not quite an international class, but, in a long career with many clubs, he gained a reputation as a tough but fair defender and a shooter, especially from afar, who could tick the scoreboard.
However, his real legacy is as a coach, especially to young players. Bob’s students are still active in sports in Scotland. He had the skill to instill a love of the game and to admire its history and features which inspired him, at the club level and through his work as coach of the Scottish teams, from the age group. From the full national squad.
He was still playing, until he had to leave due to his last illness. Bob was a key member of the Strathclyde and Scotland Masters squads – even at the age of 65 he was hitting boards, new knees and all and was playing in Masters tournaments in the UK and abroad.
Robert Taft was born in Greenwich, the eldest of six children. Her father, Robert, was also a window cleaner and had a hard time. Bob excelled academically at Greenwich’s Mount School, and it was here that his love of basketball was nurtured. He won his first local trophy at the age of 11, before playing for the Greenwich Pacers and Universidad.
His teachers thought Robert had a mind to pursue higher education, but family needs drove him out of school at the age of 15 to become an apprentice welder at Scott Lithgow’s Glenship Yard. He served his time and was a “bloody good welder” in every way.
However, he met and married the girl from Langbank and the love of his life. As she recalls: “Bob came home from work one day and said: ‘You know, you don’t see a lot of old welders, I’m going out as long as I can.’ He got a job, but his qualifications were noticed and he was promoted to work as a counter at Paisley’s Central Post Office. Was made head of, where he investigated fraud and other nefarious activities.
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He took his job seriously, earning an honors degree in criminology through night study. His last role was as a Crime Risk Manager, based in the same Underwood Road office where he started working as a humble postman years ago.
Bob held a senior position with POID, which he offered to raise his solid family in Grenac, where he received the Boys Brigade Queen’s Badge and President’s Award, as well as his Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award. Achieved – Serving others has always been important. He also played basketball for local clubs in Greenwich.
Robert and John settled in Paisley, where he continued to play basketball with the Paisley Club, before moving to Kalmarnick and then to the short-term, semi-professional team Glasgow, Falkirk, Clyde Bank and James Watt College. Go ahead to play. Playing top flight with Cumnock.
He also played for many years for the Civil Service Scotland basketball team, and for the full UK Civil Service team against foreign opponents. His services to the Civil Service Sport earned him the Sir Douglas Head Trophy in 1998 in recognition of his work for the Scottish Civil Service Sports Council. It was at Kilmarnock that he first worked with Tommy Campbell and the duo will be a great force in West of Scotland basketball. They were known as Jack and Hack, and more recently – Jack and Victor. Tommy founded Tron Club, Bob co-founded Renfrew Rocks BC. But, the best work of the pair was as a coaching team.
Bob was probably a good cop for Tommy’s bad cup as he enjoyed success with Scotland’s various age group squads and finally the full national squad. He also coached with St. Mary’s BC. Living with friends, he was named Scotland’s basketball coach of the year in 2002, and coached the great St. Marin Under-18 team to international success in a tournament in Belgium. He saw the challenge of the teams of Germany, Belgium and Netherlands. , Romania and the United States.
He was awarded the Basketball Scotland 25-Year Service Award in 2005 when the organization inaugurated the National Volunteer Identification Awards.
His last role in basketball was as head coach at the University of Strathclyde. When university officials saw Bob’s coaching CV, they said: “We don’t think we can afford you.” No need to worry, he worked for free, just for the love of the game.
Basketball was not his only sport endeavor, Bob loved playing five-a-side football on Saturday mornings, especially when his son, Robert Jr., was playing on the same team.
In retirement, he and John became passionate world t
ravelers, and it looked like they would inevitably meet old basketball rivals from other nations. Sadly, the seizures were stopped, first because of Covid, then after Robert was diagnosed with cancer. He fought his illness, which is a particularly aggressive form of the disease, with all the determination he had shown in court, but the illness had gone too far and only four months later, during which time he recorded Received sterling care from the team. Hospice, he passed away.
His early years in the Boys Brigade made him the man he would be – he always encouraged and helped young people in basketball and in life. Believed in the chapter “Failing to prepare, preparing to fail”. This was an ethic that he carried on in his life and which he preached to many young people who benefited from his coaching skills.
The bald eagle has passed, and the world is poorer for him to go.
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