Robert B. Priestley '42
Hometown: Melrose, MA
Year Inducted: 1979
Other Sports Played: Ice Hockey
Robert B. Priestley '42, a three-year starter at end for the Bruins, was Honorable Mention All-American and a first team All-New England selection. During the varsity career of this solid two-way performer, Brown was 16-10-2 and in 1940 defeated Holy Cross, Yale, and Army on successive weekends. Playing against Rhode Island in 1941, Bob Priestley was involved in one of the most memorable plays in Bruin history. He stole the ball out of the arms of a Ram back and raced 90 yards for the T.D. that eventually won the game, 14-7. The 5-11, 196-pound Priestley was an excellent pass receiver and played a hard-nosed defensive game. In his first game with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1942, Priestly caught two touchdown passes to help the Eagles defeat the College All-Stars, 13-9, before 72,000 people. Bob Priestley was an outstanding baseball and hockey player at Melrose (Mass.) High. He captained the Brown freshman sextet in 1938-39 before the sport was dropped. After service with the 9th Air Force and as an officer in the infantry, Priestley came back to Born as varsity end coach under Rip Engle. He then began a lengthy relationship with Norwich in 1950, serving as head coach of hockey and football and as athletic director. His hockey teams won more games (291) than any other Division II team in the country. He was Associated Press Coach-of-the-Year in both 1951-52 and 1952-53, was named Small College Coach-of-the-Year in 1964-65, and coached Norwich to 19 victories last fall, the most victories in the school's history. He is a former president of the American Hockey Coaches Association, the New England Intercollegiate Football Association (for 15 years), and the N.E. College Athletic Conference. He is a member of the committee to select the hockey team to represent the U.S. in the 1980 Olympics. Bob Priestley retired from Norwich last spring.