A great coach and good friend

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Bob Greenwood leaves professional and personal legacy

By Sandy Barnes

Many people in Evergreen knew Robert “Bob” Greenwood as a good neighbor and volunteer coach at the high school. 

Perhaps not as well known are Greenwood’s accomplishments in professional and collegiate sports. An Ohio native with a passion for athletics, Greenwood played football for the Cleveland Rams in the 1940s. He also competed in football and track at Ohio University before transferring to Kent State, from which he graduated.

Greenwood gained the most recognition for his abilities as a college basketball coach.

“He was one of the winningest coaches in the country,” said his former wife, Jacqueline Greenwood. “He loved coaching.” 

While coaching at Rider University in New Jersey, Greenwood led the 1963 basketball team to the playoffs and NAIA Tournament. During his time at Rider, Greenwood also coached Richard “Digger” Phelps, who later became head coach for Notre Dame University.

Greenwood also led basketball teams to victory at Washington University in St. Louis and Washington State University. While at Washington University, Greenwood coached his son Kim Robert Jeffrey Greenwood. 

“I played basketball for my dad from 1968 to ’71,” said Kim Greenwood. “He was a hell of a basketball coach.”

“Sports were his life,” Kim remarked.
After retiring as a college coach and moving into the field of real estate, Greenwood stayed active, playing tennis and swimming, Kim said.

Evergreen friend Jim Paige remembers that Greenwood helped coach a Yugoslavian team during the 1980 Summer Olympics, which the United States boycotted for political reasons.

Paige also said that Greenwood was friends with former Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula and knew famed basketball coach Bob Knight, with whom he attended high school in Ohio.

Greenwood was a good friend who enjoyed helping people, including his teenage son who died more than a year ago, added Paige.

“He was loved very much by a lot of people,” said Jacqueline.

Greenwood was a World War II veteran who trained as a paratrooper. However, because of a severe back injury he suffered in training, he did not serve very long in the military, said Kim.

“My dad was really important to me, and I’m going to miss him terribly,” said Kim.

A memorial service for Greenwood, who died on Jan. 31 at age 83, will take place at a future date in Evergreen. Burial will be at Fort Logan Cemetery.