Robert James Coakley '38
A three-year starter at center on football teams in an era when St. Lawrence would go up against the likes of Syracuse, Colgate and Cornell, Bob Coakley was a Canton native and returned to Canton after serving in World War II to establish a long-standing local business.
A star athlete in high school where he earned All Northern status in football, basketball and track, Bob concentrated on football at St. Lawrence and was a mainstay in the offensive line. Among the highlight wins during his career were an upset of Cornell in 1936 and the ending of the “Clarkson jinx”, snapping a six-game losing streak to that arch rival in 1937.
He gave up the opportunity to play professional football with the Cleveland Rams due to the onset of World War II and the call to military duty. He served for the duration of World War II, seeing action in France and Iraq. He was honorably discharged as a major and returned to Canton to run the family lumbar business.
Bob’s contribution to St. Lawrence and Saints athletics continued throughout his life and even after his death in 1984. Two of his grandchildren, Sean Coakley and Colleen Coakley have been key players on the Saint men’s and women’s ice hockey teams during championship seasons.