SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

January 4, 2013

Friends remember Beverly football legend Robbie Robinson fondly as one of the all-time greats

(Continued)

Kessaris said that back in the '40s, athletes didn’t usually go to college, but rather had to get a job to help their families. Beverly football coach Charlie Walsh was instrumental in establishing a scholarship for student-athletes; Robinson was the second recipient, and later Kessaris was selected.

“Back then, very few of us went to college, so that scholarship was very important,” said Kessaris, who now lives in Wenham.

“Robbie was a great punter in college. I remember after our undefeated '48 season we took a train to Florida to see a bowl game. We got on a bus, and it stopped where Robinson was playing with (the University of) Missouri, because Walsh wanted him to meet the team. That was an honor for all of us, even though we were going to a different bowl game.

"I remember Robbie showing me a picture of his Missouri team, and Harry Truman was in the picture. I think he was a senator from Missouri at that time.”

Friends always knew where they could find Robinson at Hurd Stadium: down in the end zone by the refreshment stand. He loved to follow Beverly High and seldom missed a football game.

“Bobby will be missed as an individual, as well as one of the greatest ever to come out of Beverly,” said former Beverly High athletic director LeRoy "Red" Hutt. “As a little kid, I caught some of his passes at Hurd Stadium when he wanted to practice. He came from a wonderful family and was not only a great quarterback but a real leader.”

Robinson was named to the All-North Shore Football Team in 1944 when he was only 15 years old. He received the Beverly Sports Club Scholarship after wrapping up his high school career by completing 10 of 21 passes for 143 yards in his school's Thanksgiving Day game against Salem.

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