| Wins against Kentucky - 0 | Losses against Kentucky - 2 |
Alma Mater: Pittsburgh 
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Date Died: April 29, 2004
Overall Record: 226-221 [20 Seasons]
|3/5/1960||Pittsburgh at Kentucky||W||73 - 66||-|
|3/15/1957||Kentucky vs. Pittsburgh||W||98 - 92||NCAA Mideast Regional Semifinals (at Lexington, KY)|
Obituary - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (May 1, 2004)
Pitt's Basketball Coach from 1953 to 1968
by Paul Zeise
Robert Timmons, men's basketball coach at Pitt from 1953 to 1968, died Thursday at his home in Shaler. He was 91.
Mr. Timmons led the Panthers to a record of 174-189. He had eight winning seasons, led the team to four postseason appearances and his 15-season tenure and 174 wins are both second among Pitt coaches.
His two best teams probably were the 1956-57 squad, which finished 16-11 and lost by six points to Kentucky in Lexington in the NCAA tournament Mideast Regional semifinal, and the 1962-63 team that went 19-6 and lost to New York University in the NCAA tournament.
The 1956-57 team featured Don Hennon, Julius Pegues, Bob Lazor and John Riser. The '62-63 team was led by Brian Generalovich, Calvin Sheffield, Dave Roman and Tim Grgurich.
Pegues played for Mr. Timmons in 1954-58 and was the first African American to play for the Panthers. He walked on at Pitt, but was given a scholarship by Mr. Timmons midway through his freshman year.
"Race was never an issue with him," said Pegues, who lives in Tulsa, Okla. and is a board member of the Tulsa Airport Authority. "He was a great coach [who] respected everyone and treated everyone equally. He didn't know I was on campus until I started playing, and once he saw me play, he gave me a scholarship right away. And then I started every game my last three years for him."
Pegues said that one thing that set Mr. Timmons apart as a coach, other than the fact that he was the "ultimate gentleman," was his ability to design game plans exploiting the opponents' weaknesses.
Pitt was always undersized in general but never had a problem scoring points. Mr. Timmons was a defense-minded coach, but his offensive sets were always innovative.
"He wasn't a scream-and-holler type of guy," said Roman, a basketball instructor who lives in Johnstown. "But his scouting reports were very thorough, comprehensive and detailed. He had some new little twist almost every night. Nowadays, scouting like that is common, but not back then."
The 1963-64 team finished 17-8 and was Pitt's first National Invitation Tournament team. But most of the top players were seniors who graduated and the Panthers followed that season with four consecutive losing ones. Mr. Timmons retired from coaching in 1968 but continued to work in the athletic department as a physical education and golf instructor until 1970.
"If there was ever a criticism of him it was that he was too much of a gentleman," said Beano Cook, who was Pitt's sports information director for most of Timmons career. "It is tough to be such a gentleman and win big in big-time athletics. That's reality.
Part of his problem at the end was he had trouble getting prospective recruits into school because Pitt was a private school and had very high academic standards. Basketball at Pitt at that time was looked at as the sport between football seasons, so the success he did have was all to his credit.
"But his graduation rate had to be near 100 percent. He had one team that had eight or nine guys go on to be doctors. That's unbelievable."
Mr. Timmons was born in 1912 in the North Side and graduated from Allegheny High School in 1930. That year, he enrolled at Pitt and played football for the Panthers until he graduated in 1934, earning two letters.
Following graduation, he coached football at Smithfield High School (1934-36) in Ohio and New Brighton (1936-39). In 1939 he became assistant football coach at Indiana (Pa.) Teacher's College and later became the school's head basketball coach.
Mr. Timmons was a veteran of World War II. He joined the Navy in 1942, served in the South Pacific and was honorably discharged as a lieutenant in 1946.
Survivors include a daughter, Patricia A. Yakovich, of Conneaut Lake, Crawford County; a son, Robert W. Timmons Jr., of Battle Creek, Mich.; four grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
Friends will be received from 7 to 9 tonight and 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. tomorrow at Bock Funeral Home, 1500 Mount Royal Blvd., Shaler; A memorial service will be held Monday at 11 a.m. at the funeral home with interment to follow at Lakewood Memorial Gardens in Indiana Township.
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