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Robert "Bob" Gowder- Coach
Known affectionately as "Pop" to all his friends, colleagues and former players, Bob Gowder had long and distinguished careers at Ventura High and later Ventura College, serving in the capacities of Coach and Athletic Director.
Bob graduated from Hollywood High School in Los Angeles in 1926. He continued his education at USC earning a BA degree in 1930 and a Master's Degree in Education in 1932. At USC, his Trojan team won the 1929 National Championship and played in the Rose Bowl in 1930. Bob fondly recalls sitting on the bench next to a third string tackle named Duke Morrison. Duke later became known as John Wayne of Hollywood fame. In 1936, Bob moved to Ventura County wher ehe lived the rest of his life.
In 1936, Coach Gowder began his coaching career at Ventura College as an assistant football coach when the college was located on the Ventura High School campus. From 1938-1947, Bob was head coach for the high school varsity football and track teams.
As Ventura High's football coach, his teams had an overall record of 52-14. At one point his teams won 18 consecutive games (1941-1945), a record that stood for 53 years. Three of Bob's players, Jack "Moose" Myers, Vitamin T. Smith, and Ed Henke played a total of 23 years in the National Football League. His former players point out that Gowder didn't have assistant coaches, never had a losing season and his football teams never placed less than second in league. His high school track teams won six league championships. In 1947, Bob resigned his coaching positions to become Athletic Director for both Ventura High School and Ventura College.
During the 1955 transition away from teh Ventura High campus to the new location on Telegraph Road, Bob relocated with Ventura College as its Athletic Director. Bob remained VC's Athletic Director until his retirement in 1972. "Pop" Gowder served as President of the Western State Conference for 9 years, well beyond the normal two year terms presidents normally served.
Coach Gowder taught a total of 36 years: 12 at Ventura High and 24 at Ventura College. Other notable player she coached include Pat Cannamela and Don Burroughs. In the annals of Ventura sports, "Pop" is truly a legend.
In June 1974, Bob Gowder was enshrined in the Hall of Fame of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. In 1999, he was post humously indected into the Ventura County Sports Hall of Fame.
Bob Gowder passed away in 1998.