A pair of giants in the sports field left us last week.
Paul Allen, Seattle Seahawks football and Portland Trail Blazers basketball owner and co-founder of Microsoft, died Oct. 15 at age 65.
Bob Robertson, the voice of Washington State University football for more than four decades (more than six calling sporting events mainly in smaller markets), suddenly retired the same day as Allen passed.
Allen, one of the richest billionaires in the world who died Oct. 15 from complications of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, originally pushed back cancer in 2009.
A couple weeks ago he announced that he re-entered treatment.
Allen’s passing comes on the heels of volleyball teams dressed in pink earlier this month reminding us of those, especially women, fighting cancer.
Now we all know the disease can strike down anyone.
Seahawks coach Pete Carrol said on his Tuesday radio show that he would not have come to Seattle in 2010 without a belief in Allen, who he called both supportive and challenging.
“We had a really good relationship,” Carroll said on the “Brock and Salk Show.” “It was kind of John (Schneider) and I and Paul who had a way we communicated and functioned that was extremely facilitative of what we were after. He’s a competitor and he wanted to do great things. He was always challenging us to figure out where we could go, what could we do to do things better.”
That’s something we could all strive to do, our best.
Which brings up Robertson, 89, who has called Cougar football games since the 1970s. I attended Wazzu while he was there, eventually getting married the winter of 1979 and earning two bachelor’s degrees.
“It is a matter of getting old is what it is,” Robertson said of retiring. “Everything seems to move a lot faster around me, I move more slowly. I hope to see you soon, I’m not going to go away. I like Washington State people and the school itself too much to do that. But I am going to be on the retired list, starting immediately.”
I first heard Robertson growing up in Tacoma, back when phone numbers were only six digits long.
He was the last man in radio to do re-creations – getting reports on games and using sound effects to call a road game for the Tacoma Tigers.
I remember the building of Cheney Stadium a few miles from our house, going to games on tight-wad hill behind right field and hearing Robertson on the radio in the 1950s calling games. Don Hill took over in 1960, with his signature, “How about that, Giants fans?”
Robertson’s signoff was, “Always be a good sport, be a good sport all ways.”
Al Camp is the sports editor at
The Chronicle. Email him at email@example.com.