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Tribe Athletics family mourns passing of icon

  • Bob Sheeran
    Bob Sheeran
    Tribe radio personality Bob Sheeran (left) passed away Feb. 23. He is pictured here with football coach Jimmye Laycock.

The William and Mary athletics family is mourning the loss of one of its most passionate and enduring icons, as long-time Tribe radio personality Bob Sheeran passed away Saturday (Feb. 23) afternoon in Newport News' Riverside Hospital after complications resulting from a stroke.

"Bob's death is a real loss for William & Mary," said President Taylor Reveley. "For nearly 50 years, he was a member of the Tribe family. As a student, Bob was the latest in a long line of Sheerans to attend the College. After graduation, he was a stalwart W&M employee who vigorously publicized Tribe athletics to the media and public. For the past 28 years, Bob brought his broadcast insight about William & Mary football into the homes of Tribe fans. He retired from that post just this fall - after more than 460 consecutive games. Bob Sheeran will be missed."

For the many who knew Sheeran, 68, his passion and loyalty for William and Mary was unquestioned.  He is a third-generation W&M graduate. His father played football in the 1930s with Walt Zable, whose name is on the football stadium. Bob was one of the founding fathers of W&M's Quarterback Club. He emceed every variety of athletic banquet and auctions and has made himself available for myriad college functions.

While a fan of all the Tribe's athletics teams, it was his association with the football program that held a special place in his life. He served as the school's sports information director from 1971-85 and worked on broadcasts of W&M football and basketball alongside local radio talent such as Dick Lamb and Bob Rathbun, Dickie Fraim and Jay Colley.

Sheeran eventually relinquished Tribe basketball broadcasts and remained with football, until last fall, when he stepped away from the microphone for the last time after the team's season ending game against Richmond.  In his modest recollections when he announced his retirement from the broadcasts, Bob estimated that he worked every Tribe football game from 1972 through 2012, more than 460 consecutive fall Saturdays.

"I lost a great friend this afternoon," stated William and Mary Head Football Coach Jimmye Laycock.  "Bob's passion for Tribe football was unsurpassed.  He made an extraordinary commitment in so many ways with his time and talent over the last four decades.  Bob always did everything he could to support our program and he had been doing it for as long as I knew him.  My thoughts go out to his family during this difficult time."

In addition to his close association with the William and Mary Athletics, Sheeran was an active member of the Williamsburg area at large, as was a prominent member of the local reality community and was a long-time host of a local morning radio show.    

Sheeran is survived by his wife, Anne, sons, Rob and Billy, sister, Marion, and beloved granddaughter, Neva. 

More information on services will be available in the coming days.