Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Bob Timmons, June 1924-August 2015

The University of Kansas lost another leader three weeks ago on August 4, track & field and cross country coach Bob “Timmie” Timmons. A U.S. Marine who spent time deployed in the South Pacific during World War II, he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from the University of Kansas. Timmons then joined the KU track team’s coaching staff in 1964 and became head coach in 1966. He led the Jayhawk track team to four NCAA titles, 13 Big Eight indoor titles, and 14 outdoor titles before his retirement in 1988. During that time he coached several Olympic athletes, including runners Billy Mills and Jim Ryun. In 2011 he was inducted into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame.

 Photograph of Coach Bob Timmons with two National Championship trophies

Coach Bob Timmons with two National Championship trophies.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 66/22 Prints:
Athletic Department: Coaches: Bob Timmons (Photos).
Click on image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections.)

Photograph of Coach Bob Timmons instructing a shot-put athlete during practice

Coach Bob Timmons instructs a shot-put athlete during practice.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 66/22 Prints:
Athletic Department: Coaches: Bob Timmons (Photos).
Click image to enlarge.

After his retirement, Timmons developed the Rim Rock Farm cross country course on his property north of Lawrence. In 2005, he and his wife Pat donated the course, one of the best in the country, to KU.

Coach Timmons is remembered for his attention to detail and his desire to promote education and character-building through college athletics. Current KU Athletic director Sheahon Zenger said, “KU has lost a true treasure. Coach Timmons was one of the all-time greats. His legacy though does not end with championships and medals. His real legacy is how much he cared about his student-athletes and the University of Kansas.”

Photograph of Coach Timmons holding up a time card to signal to athletes

Coach Timmons holds up a time card to signal to athletes.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 66/22 Prints:
Athletic Department: Coaches: Bob Timmons (Photos).
Click image to enlarge.

JoJo Palko
KU 150 Research Archivist
University Archives

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