Kids dream about being a professional athlete or an Olympian. Hamilton-born, Burlington raised Bob MacDonald is no different. Bob’s Olympics were the CFL.
As a youngster, it was evident Bobby was an exceptional athlete - an exceptional person. At age 11 he joined the rep football league in Burlington suiting up for the Vikings. As he grew so, too did his game. He played for the esteemed Burlington Stampeders. He was hooked on football.
Bob attended Burlington Central High School where not surprisingly he was a three-sport standout. When the fall football season ended the Central Trojan hit the hardwood where he was a force. And in the spring his talent surfaced as a member of the Central track team.
Bob’s post-secondary career took him to McMaster University where his athleticism was nourished by an exceptional coaching staff headed up by the legendary Bernie Custis, Bob joins his coach in the Burlington Sports Hall of Fame (Bernie was inducted in 2008).
Bob’s career at Mac was exceptional. He was named: Marauder rookie-of-the-year (1986); three-time lineman of the year 1987, 1988, and 1989; three-time Ontario University Athletics (OUA) All-Star; twice a First Team All-Star, and once a Second Team All-Star. And he was honoured by the CIAU twice, named an All Canadian (Second Team) offensive lineman.
Bob was among the best ever to suit up along the line for the maroon and grey. He was named to the Team of the Decade (1980’s) and achieved the penultimate – named to McMaster Team of the Century (2001). Mac honoured Bob in 2004 when he was inducted into the McMaster Sports Hall of Fame.
Bob’s prowess on the football field did not go unnoticed by CFL scouts. In the 1990 CFL draft, he was selected in the second round by the Edmonton Eskimos. However, before the season began the university All Canadian lineman was traded to the Calgary Stampeders where he played on the Stamps line (1990-1992). He was rewarded with a Grey Cup ring in 1992. That was his Olympic gold medal.
In 1993 Bob was traded to the Toronto Argos then to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats where #66 fittingly ended his career.
Teaching was a natural fit for Bob post his professional football career. He teaches at Saltfleet District High School where he coaches football and rugby and has coached track. He is active in other aspects of school life having been the staff advisor for the student newspaper. Clearly, Bob is committed to working with youth. Over the years he has served as a guest coach at what is considered the premier lineman camp in Southern Ontario – Up-Front Lineman Camp.
Endorsements for Bob’s nomination all commented on his engaging spirit, high energy, skillful leadership qualities, and a keen interest in supporting youth.