Robert L. Long Inducted 1988 - Class of 1944
Robert Peanuts Long is the fifth and final starter of the 1944 Woodward basketball team that went to the State Finals in Columbus to be elected to the Woodward Hall of Fame. He grew up on Stickney Avenue, "across the field" from Woodward, and remembers well attending Hamilton School and playing basketball at Wilson Park. It was at Wilson Park where he got to play basketball with guys like Jim Knierim and John Payak and he could tell even then that "these guys were great basketball players." So, when his parents moved for a short time to the Libbey district, he convinced them that Woodward was going to be the best basketball team in the city. They then actually moved back to Stickney Avenue so he could attend Woodward.
Bob's basketball achievements at Woodward are well-known. He played forward and guard throughout his four years and was co-captain of the team his last three years. As a freshman, he led the team in scoring and, as a sophomore, Woodward won the junior varsity championship. As a junior, the team was City League Champion and District Champion. He was named All-City and to
the All-District Tournament team. His senior year was filled with success, with the team winning 21 games and losing only 3. They were City Co-champions,District Champions, Regional Champions, and State Runners-up. Peanuts was named first team All-City, first team All-District, first team All-Regional, and first team All-State -- accomplishments of which anyone would be proud.
When asked to mention some of the teachers he remembered, he quickly named Homer Hanham and Wilson Weis, his basketball coaches. "No one was a better man than Homer Hanham." He also mentioned Hazel McManamon Marie Ersig, and Katherine McClure as teachers who left impressions on him: He stated that he never was a "star" as a student, but really enjoyed spending his years at Woodward with his close buddies: Knierim, Payak, Harrison, Seymour, Lentz, Sloan, and Bonkowski.
After graduating from Woodward, Peanuts joined the Navy, where he served two years in the Amphibious Forces, being stationed in the South Pacific. He achieved the rating of Coxswain Third Class and was in charge of Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel. He continued playing basketball, when possible, and was named to the "All-Island" All-Star Team in the South Pacific.
After completing military service in 1946, Peanuts went to Bowling Green State University, where he continued his basketball success. He played junior varsity as a freshman and then moved up to the varsity as a regular his sophomore year. As a junior, he was selected to the "All-Ohio" basketball team. His senior year, he was first-string guard and co-captain of the basketball team. He was named "All-Ohio" first string guard and Honorable Mention "All-American." He was chosen first team "Little All-American," (a team for players 5' 10" and under), and selected as one of the best defensive players in the country. His Bowling Green team was Consolation Tournament winners in the National Invitational Tournament at Madison Square Garden, and he was named to the all-tournament team. These college honors enabled him to be named runner-up in the Toledo BLADE "Athlete of the Year" Award.
At Bowling Green, Peanuts also starred in track, setting several records in the 100, 220, and 440 yard dashes, and the 880 yard and mile relay teams. He went to the Olympic trials but did not qualify.
After college, Peanuts turned to pro basketball and played with Sid Goldberg’s Toledo Mercuries, who provided opposition for the Harlem Globetrotters and several other professional teams. This enabled him to travel extensively throughout the United States and Canada. After being reinstated as an amateur, he played with the Christy Motors team, winning the Toledo championship three consecutive years. Bob was also very active in playing Squash, being an instructor and professional player, winning many city championships.
Peanuts received his B.A. from Bowling Green and has a Master's degree from the University of Toledo, and a Specialist degree from Eastern Michigan University. He began his teaching career at Franklin School as a Junior High teacher and basketball coach. He has been principal at Point Place Junior High, a supervisor at the Rogers High School Skill Center and Assistant Director in the Community Relations Department of the Toledo Board of Education. He is presently Supervisor of the West Toledo Pupil Personnel Center.
Bob speaks of his special relationship with Clyde Meek, Dean of Boys whom he got to know on a "first name basis." Bob was often late to school even though he lived right across the street from school. He used to tell Mr. Meek that he had a "flat tire," and Mr. Meek would "understand." The relationship became so special, that while Bob was stationed in the South Pacific he would receive boxes of cookies every month from Mr. and Mrs. Meek - a memory that he treasures to this day. He is very proud that he and his two best friends, Jim Knierim and John Payak, are also in the Bowling Green Hall of Fame. Bob said "We were so close, that, if we were born years earlier, we would have been the Three Musketeers.”