ROBERT "BOB" BURROW KING, 81, was born June 3,
1913 and died June 19, 1994. He graduated from
Ranger High School in 1932 at Ranger, TX & worked
for a year before starting college. He went to
work as an assistant football coach at Furman
University, in Greenville, SC, under Dizzy McLeod
after graduation and held that position until WWII.
He served in the U.S. Navy from 1941-1945 after
which he returned to Furman.
He married Laura Gladys Mason in April of 1938 at
Greenville, SC. A daughter, Karen, was born while
he was in the Navy in Chapel Hill, NC. A son, Bob,
was born in Greenville, SC. Very soon thereafter
Bob and his wife, Gladys, moved to Champaign, IL,
where he served as an assistant football coach
under Ray Elliott at the University of Illinois.
In 1957 Bob returned to Greenville as head football
coach at Furman. He retired from coaching in 1972.
(Information from Bob King, Jr. of Greenville, SC)
The following article was printed when he was given
the honor of SOUTHERN CONFERENCE COACH OF THE YEAR.
RANGER NATIVE IS SOUTHERN CONFERENCE
COACH OF THE YEAR
Bob King, a native of Ranger, TX, has been named
Southern Conference Football Coach of the Year. The
Furman University head coach was honored at a testimonial
dinner held in Greenville, South Carolina.
Groundwork for King's career was laid during his high
school days in the early 1930's where his performance
earned for him an invitation to attend Furman University.
Money was not plentiful in 1933, but determination
overrode that obstacle and King made the journey via
freight train for the bargain price of $2.75. He walked
from the station to the Furman campus wearing a then
unstylish week's growth of beard and carrying a pair
of seersucker pants in a paper bag.
King proved his ability in those "House of Magic" days
as a fine pass receiver, end, placement kicker and ball
carrier under the coaching of A.P. (Dizzy) McLeod. Upon
graduating Cum Laude in 1937 he had won nine athletic
letters and was captain of the State Championship football
team his senior year.
Returning to Furman as assistant coach with a subsequent
four year tour of duty with the U.S. Navy and another
season at Furman, King joined the coaching staff at
Illinois where for eleven years he led his men to many
victories, including the Rose Bowl 40-7 win over Stanford
A plane replaced freight train transportation when, in
1957, he returned to Greenville to become head coach at
Furman. Thirteen years later, things are still bright for
the man who has twice been named South Carolina Coach of
the Year and in 1961 was elected chairman of the Board
of Review for the American Football Coaches Association.
The tall Texan who takes football seriously but calmly
lives by the philosophy that "What you do with the boys
you have and what they make of themselves is the important
Bob is the son of the late R.O. and Lillie Brown King,
pioneer Ranger residents.
Bob King, as featured in Furman Football 2001 Media Handbook...
Bob King, who as a Furman athlete in the 1930s had no peer,
and who later served as the school’s head football coach
longer than anyone else, stands as a giant in the pantheon
of Paladin athletic greats.
A native of oil-rich Ranger, TX, King came to Furman in
1934 after hitchhiking 100 miles to Fort Worth and spending
two nights on a succession of freight trains. Once on campus,
he quickly made a name for himself starring as an end on teams
that beat both Clemson and South Carolina twice in his three
seasons of play. Described by Clemson coach Frank Howard as
“the greatest college end I ever saw,” King earned all-state
honors three times, and in 1936 became the first player in
Furman history to garner All-Southern Conference accolades.
In addition, he was an outstanding center and forward in
basketball, and set the state record in the shot put and
Described by the Bonhomie as “a well-rounded specimen of
humanity,” King graduated cum laude from Furman in 1937.
Shortly thereafter, he served as an assistant Coach under
Furman’s A.P. “Dizzy” McLeod for five years before joining
the Navy during WWII. Following the war, he returned to
coaching as an assistant at the University of Illinois,
where he remained for 12 years.
King returned to Furman in 1958 as head football coach,
and held the post for 15 years while compiling most of a
60-88-4 record during a period in which Furman’s football
program was primarily supported on the basis of a player’s
proven financial need-a philosophy that severely handicapped
recruiting and competitiveness. Nevertheless, King remained
upbeat, and in 1970 was named Southern Conference Coach-of-
the-Year after directing the Paladins to an 8-3 mark.
Furman president Dr. David Shi, who played football under
King from 1970-72, said: “Bob King was much more than a
coach to us. He was a wise counselor, a caring friend, a
surrogate father. He was a man of the old stamp who believed
in hard hitting, strenuous effort, fair play, team spirit,
and school loyalty. There was a nobility to his character,
a quiet dignify of soul and moral gravity that ballasted
his relentlessly optimistic personality. How inspiring it
was to have him lead us in the Furman fight song as we headed
to Sirrine Stadium. How energizing it was to hear him begin
summer practices at daybreak by pointing up to Paris Mountain
and shouting to us, “God Almighty, boys, what a day!” No one
loved “Furman more than Bob King. No one better understood
the meaning of the scholar athlete.”