Taps – Bob Thalman
LEXINGTON, Va., Feb. 21, 2012 – Former VMI head football coach Bob Thalman died in Atlanta, Ga., on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2012, at the age of 89.
Thalman served as VMI head football coach from 1971 through 1984 – the longest tenure of any Keydet gridiron coach. His teams captured the Southern Conference Championship in 1974 and 1977 and were runners-up in both 1979 and 1981.
During Thalman’s tenure as head coach, the Keydets competed against and won the respect of major college football programs and excelled against state competition. VMI defeated University of Virginia three straight years from 1976 through 1978 and won 10 out of 14 games with Virginia, University Richmond, and the College of William and Mary between the 1976 and 1980 seasons.
The 1981 team under Thalman posted a 6-3-1 record, including roads wins over the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and Virginia Tech.
Thalman was a great VMI football coach, said current VMI athletic director Donny White ’65, who served under Thalman as a defensive assistant coach for the secondary in the ’70s through the 1980 season.
“He energized everyone around him and made us better,” said White. “He challenged coaches and players alike to believe. Coach Thalman demanded excellence and told us, ‘Do not get on the bus unless you believe we can win.’ I know that we respected his commitment to VMI football and his attention to detail, and we always felt like we were prepared to win.”