ROBERT (BOB) “COACH” W. BUCKNER was nominated by his son, Donald R. Buckner, class of 1951. He is being inducted posthumously into the Hall of Fame for his 30 years of service in the Rensselaer City School District as a physical education teacher, athletic coach and Elementary School Principal.
Bob lived in New Jersey in his early years, graduating from Morristown High School in 1925. He had an impressive athletic high school career, playing three sports, and as captain of the legendary “Marvel 5” basketball team. He went to Springfield College in MA and played soccer there, scoring the winning goal in a major upset over the US Military Academy at West Point. He received his BS in 1929 when he began is his career with the Rensselaer School system. He coached basketball, baseball and in his early years, soccer. During his career at RHS, he completed his Master’s in Education at SUNYA and brought many teams to winning seasons for which he was made an Albany Area Baseball All-Star Coach. His record statistically was impressive (he never had a losing season), but even more so was his influence as a role model to his players. He also obtained an unbroken record of 36 straight victories in basketball over intra-city rival St John’s. As health problems with is blood pressure became apparent, he shifted his career to a position of Elementary Principal of School No. 2. In addition to his career, Bob was civic minded and through his volunteerism, was awarded the Rensselaer Jr. Chamber of Commerce’s “Man of the Year”. Bob died suddenly and prematurely in 1959 at the young age of 54. He was greatly mourned by his students and eulogized with a tribute in the Albany Times Union. There was a VRHS Sportsmanship Award established in his name.