Bob E. Dove
Robert E. Dove (better known to his family and friends as Bob, Dad and Grandpa) is more likely to talk about his family, share a laugh, or make a comment on Art Model than tell you he wore the #45 for the Ohio State Buckeyes football team. If you’re one of his three children, six grand children, or one of his great grandchildren, he more likely to slip a twenty-dollar bill in your pocket when you’re not looking, than he is to talk about being offered a contract from the Baltimore Colts and the Chicago Bears. If asked, Bob will speak humbly about his athletic past, but only those who have played with Bob and have flipped through his scrapbook will truly understand his true talent as an athlete.
Born was born and raised in Ashland, Ohio by his parents Mr. And Mrs. Orlo Dove. As most Ashland natives, he went through the traditional ranks of grade school and into Ashland High School. During those years, Bob received five varsity letters – three in football, one in baseball and one in track.
Although Bob enjoyed playing all types of sports, his love for football was obvious by his performance. He was a three-year varsity starter form 1941-43 in the offensive backfield, and selected all-North Central Ohio for all three years. Bob earned an impressive 100-point season in 1943, being the second person to accomplish this for Ashland High School. Perhaps his most noted high school achievement was booting an impressive 100-yard punt in 1942 versus Galion.
At the time, Bob was considered the best punter in Ohio. Coach Paul Brown of the Ohio State Buckeyes heard of Bob’s impressive punts and mentioned it during films stating, “There’s a boy over at Ashland who kicks like that. If any of you fellows know him, tell him we’d like to see him down at Columbus.”
That wouldn’t be the last time that Bob heard from Coach Brown. After receiving a professional offer from the Chicago Bears, and considering scholarships from Georgia, Oklahoma, and Mississippi State, Bob went south to become a Buckeye.
In 1944 Coach Brown was offered to report for military duty and forced to leave his head coach position for the Buckeyes. Coach Caroll Widdoes now had the honor of head coach for Ohio State.
In 1944, Bob adjusted quickly to Coach Widdoes’ style and stepped up to the task at hand. While playing halfback, quarterback, and punting, Bob earned his varsity “O”. The team finished the year a 9-0 record and won the Big Ten Championship. Later that year, Les Horvath made Ohio State history by becoming the school’s first Heisman Trophy winner and Coach Widdoes was named Coach of the Year.
The 1945 season started with as much promise as the 1944 season. In the traditional intra-squad game, Bob earned his starting quarterback position on the “white” team. Bob continuously helped the team get out of trouble with impressive punts. The team finished the season with a 7-2 record, Bob earned his second varsity “O”.
In 1946, Bob transferred his talent from the Ohio State University to the United States Marine Corp. As a starting halfback and punter, Bob played two years for the Quantico Football Team. In 1947, the Marine Corp. beat the Jacksonville Naval all-stars for the East Coast Championship in San Diego’s Balboa Stadium. The team finished the season with a 13-1 record, and Bob was chosen All-Navy second team.
Bob returned to Ashland on December 20, 1947, and was offered a contract with the Baltimore Colts. After completing training camp with the Colts in Sun Valley, Bob retired from his athletics career and started his professional career in construction. In June 1948, he married Gloria. Together the raised their three children, Kathy, Matt, and Julie, and settled into Ashland as lifelong residents. Throughout the years, Bob helped develop Ashland as an owner in Thomas & Dove Builders.
Today, Bob and Gloria still reside in Ashland, and enjoy visiting their family across the country. Bob still keeps in touch with his old football pals.
Bob’s family is proud of him for this achievement, his honorable past and his inspiration as a Husband, Dad, Grandpa, and Great Grandpa.
Nominator: Thomas R. Balliett