WATCH: Space Coast Sports Hall of Famer Bob Anderson Consensus All-American at West Point
By Space Coast Daily // July 11, 2022
SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME SPOTLIGHT
SPACE COAST DAILY TV SPORTS HALL OF FAME SPOTLIGHT: Bob Anderson, a 1956 graduate of Cocoa High and Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame 2012 inductee might have been Brevard County’s finest athlete.
BOB ANDERSON – 2012 INDUCTEE: Dominant Multi-Sport Star, Consensus All American, College Football Hall of Fame
COCOA HIGH FOUR-SPORT STAR
If doctors knew then what they know now, Bob Anderson might have had a professional football career similar to his college football career.
The 1956 graduate of Cocoa High and Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame nominee might have been Brevard County’s finest athlete.
He surely was one of the best to ever play football for the Black Knights of the U.S. Army.
Several injuries to his right knee slowed him during his senior season for Army in 1959 and prevented him from playing more than one game for the New York Giants in 1963 after he finished his duties in the Army.
That’s what slowed Anderson and might have prevented him from winning the Heisman Trophy during his tenure with Army.
Anderson, who was born on March 31, 1938, in Elizabeth, N.J., moved to Florida with his family when he was 11 years old.
He had been diagnosed with rheumatic fever and doctors recommended the warmer climate.
He wasn’t sickly for long, growing to 6-foot-2 and 196 pounds by his senior year at Cocoa High.
Anderson starred in football, basketball, baseball and track and field. He was Brevard County’s leading rusher and scorer in football three times.
NATION’S TOP RECRUIT
Anderson also was all-county and all-conference in basketball and baseball three times. Anderson set school, county and conference records in the 100-yard dash and the shot put.
As a freshman, Cocoa football coach Chuck Klein named Anderson the starting quarterback.
This was back in the days of segregation when Brevard County had just three high schools for white students – Cocoa High, Titusville High and Melbourne High.
It also was a time period before the space program and before the Space Coast became the Space Coast.
Anderson was good enough to play professional baseball, but the college football coaches of the Deep South knew who he was. He gave legendary Georgia Tech coach Bobby Dodd a verbal commitment.
But when Army and another legendary coach, Earl “Red” Blaik, showed interest, Anderson told his parents he wanted to go to West Point.
To this day, Anderson wonders what it would have been like to play for Dodd and the Yellow Jackets.
Freshmen weren’t eligible to play college football back in those days, but Anderson did play as an outfielder and occasional pitcher for the baseball team before joining the football team. He also played one year of basketball.
WEST POINT CONSENSUS ALL AMERICAN
As a sophomore, Anderson was one of the finest players in the country. He rushed for 983 yards and 12 touchdowns on 153 carries for a 6.4 average.
He caught six passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns. Anderson also completed 6 of 11 passes for 30 yards and one touchdown.
Army’s offense was designed to move only between the tackles, so Anderson was forced to run in crowded traffic.
College football hadn’t implemented a two-platoon system at that time, and Anderson added four interceptions as a standout player on defense.
Army finished 7-2 and ranked No. 13 in the country. Anderson was a consensus selection for the 1957 College Football America Team with Heisman Trophy winner John David Crow of Texas A&M.
During his junior year, Anderson gained 564 yards on 126 carries. He also caught 14 passes for 138 yards, completed 10 of 15 passes for 143 yards and returned four punts for 78 yards.
Anderson added three interceptions as Army finished 8-0-1 and was ranked No. 3 in the country. Its lone blemish was a 14-14 tie against Pittsburgh. He was named to the All-America team.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME
After graduation Anderson served as a lieutenant in the 101st Airborne Division for three years before signing a contract with the Giants. In 2004, Anderson was named to the College Football Hall of Fame.
FOR INFORMATION OR TO MAKE A NOMINATION to the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2023, call 321-615-8111 or e-mail Contact@SpaceCoastDaily.com. CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL THE INDUCTEES