I worked closely with Bob for six years as a secretary in the St. Lawrence University athletic department. I valued his friendship. We debated many things (such as which of us made the best homemade donuts). He was a great family man and shared so many stories about his family. Working with Bob and Dick Metcalf made the athletic department such a wonderful environment for the staff working there, the students, and everyone who spent time there. What a great man. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.
I was saddened to learn of Shel's passing. As the freshman football coach, he was a tough but inspiring leader who made the players want to win for him. He was also able to get the maximum performance out of everyone and his string of undefeated freshman teams are testimony to that. Additionally, he provided a group of hard-nosed performers to the Varsity every year. Off the field however, Shel was a real friend and always remembered his players. I will miss him greatly.
~Les LaBrecque '70
"Where is the first tee and what is the course record".....my favorite quote from Big Dog. He helped a lot of people find their "first tee" and encouraged all to achieve their personal records.
~Bill Kaiser '79
Coach Shelly was a one-of-a-kind legend who kept a watchful eye on all of us and made us laugh every single day! Was so glad to see him at our 40th reunion to say goodbye and make him smile.
~Peter Hewitt '76
Coach Bob Sheldon, along with Ted Straford, came to my home in Saranac Lake during the spring of my senior year of high school to encourage me to visit SLU and consider it as an option to further my education. I had regular phone contact with Syracuse, Tennessee, Notre Dame and Penn State. Greg Duqette from Penn State had just visited, but John Raymond, (Father of Mark) Fraser Sturgeon, and Judge Jan Plumadore all were SLU Alums who had me on track for SLU since my junior year. The changer was going out to dinner with my father LeRoy Townsel Jr. and with "The Bear and Shelly." They were as kind and caring to me as my high school coaches, Raymond, Plumadore and Sturgeon. Having relocated to Saranac Lake from downstate White Plains, NY, I was a bit skeptical about my Adirondack surroundings. I thought immediately that he was the strongest of this SLU clan. I was stunned by his presence and manner. Coach Sheldon moved past all of the routine recruit tales and conversed with my father and they talked about me and what the future might hold and the SLU family. The "Bear" was equally connected in the entire process, but it was Coach Sheldon and his interest in me being someone I could be proud of that made the difference.
I still have the utmost respect for him, his sense of humor and candor, his toughness and his kindness. I remember that night we went to the biggest steak house in Lake Placid and Coach Sheldon asked me how big a steak I could eat. I remember my father laughing as I said I'll have the Chateau Brion for Two. I got it all down and was, in the end, full in heart and soul with Mr. Sheldon and SLU. Most importantly, he help me to develop the "will" to move forward, to become as tenacious on the field as I could be and to compete in the world in all things. It's funny as I sit here and think how he guided me from a distance, but I always knew where he was and would stop by his office basically when no one else was around and always felt empowered to tend to the next task. He and Bernie McKinnon, who loved me like his own. Good memories of SLU, hadn't touched them in a long time--precious.
~Kim Townsel '80
I worked for Coach and his wife Jean at Colgate Camp for two years (they were the best two summers)! Coach will be missed greatly and I will forever hold a special place in my heart for them both. Moderation Coach, moderation.
~ Brooke Woolston Croft
A great man who truly cared about his athletes. He and Coach Stratford were foremost among those who made my SLU days memorable. May he Rest in Peace.
~Phil Nulty '80
The Sheldon Family has our deepest sympathies. Coach Sheldon was my freshman football coach in 1965. He guided our team to an undefeated season. He had a history of guiding undefeated freshman teams. Coach Sheldon set the stage for my varsity football career at SLU, which I will always appreciate. My wife Judi was a 4 year cheerleader at SLU and fondly remembers the many basketball games at the old Brewer Field House, now the bookstore, with Coach Sheldon leading the basketball squad. Great memories...
~L4L, Bob '69 & Judi '69 Rood
I remember standing in line for graduation and Bob asking me what I was doing after graduation. I told him I had a graduate assistantship at Brockport State and was planning on going there to get my master's degree. He told me Norwich had started a graduate program and suggested that I apply. I have now been at Norwich for 38 years and if it weren't for Bob, I would not have had the career that I have had. I owe him a great deal and he will be greatly missed.
~Tony Mariano '74
I played JV football with Shel as the head man. He was the first football coach I ever had who could motivate quietly and strongly without ranting and raving. As a sport psychologist and rugby coach, I appreciated this role model. I also had him for classes as a PE major and he was a wonderful man to be around every day. He always encouraged me to go on to graduate school and continue in our profession. He made a big impact on my career goals.
~Bruce Hale '72
He was truly a St. Lawrence legend. His undefeated freshman teams seemed to go on forever! They speak volumes about his coaching ability. Cannot remember seeing him without a smile. I am glad I was able to visit with him one more time last fall. I will always remember his smile at the end of practice as he would yell "line them up Brucie!" Knowing we hated what was coming! Best wishes to his family.
~Mike Urbonas '72
Bob's family and his SLU family, I am sorry for your loss. Bob was my coach in his first years at SLU. I was captain of the football and basketball teams in 58-59 and I wish I had realized what a tough "gentleman" he was. I am truly sorry I did not recognize this until I got on with my own teaching career. I am sorry I could not attend the memorial service. I have known of Bob's history from Oswego, Colgate, Corning and to St. Lawrence. You all take care.
~Don Chirlin '59