From humble roots, Lumsden brought success to Poly's teams

In coaching four sports, he never had a losing season

High Schools

October 26, 2002|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Bob Lumsden became one of the most influential athletic directors in the history of the Maryland Scholastic Association and a longtime successful coach in baseball, football, basketball and golf at Poly.

Lumsden never had a losing season in any sport he coached.

His life began amid meager surroundings on Auchentoroly Terrace in the Druid Hill Park section of West Baltimore and ended Wednesday, when he died of complications from a stroke, heart and lung problems.

Lumsden, 81, never forgot an experience he had one afternoon when he arrived home from Poly, said his son, Robby, yesterday.

"He looked across the street towards the park and there was his mother and father pulling dandelions in order for the family to have greens for dinner," said Robby. "And he vowed that day that `my kids will always have a roof over their head.' And we sure have."

Although he coached Poly to 139 football victories in 18 years, there was one over City on Thanksgiving Day in 1963 that Lumsden will never forget.

Poly had some big linemen that year weighing in the neighborhood of 275 pounds, which was large in those days, and City coach George Young was quoted in the newspapers as saying, "They're big, but they don't hit."

Robby Lumsden vividly remembers the rest of the story.

"Coach [Lumsden] took his team over there and wiped up City, 27-0," said Robby. "And after the game, George Young comes walking across the field and says to my dad, `Those guys are not only big, but they hit.' "

To which Bob Lumsden replied, "I told you so."

Lumsden liked to talk about competing against the "best golfers in the world" as an amateur in 1957 and 1958 at the Eastern Open in Baltimore. Lumsden was a scratch golfer and was leading the Eastern Open after two rounds in 1958.

He will probably be remembered most for the 15 MSA championships he won in baseball and the 379-31 record he had from 1944 to 1967.

His football achievements from 1949 to 1966 are close behind, beginning with five unbeaten seasons, three MSA championships and a 139-24-4 record.

He was Poly's athletic director from 1967 to 1980, when he retired. Lumsden was also a teacher and administrator at Poly during a 37-year run, and was associated with the school for more than 50 years, including time as a student.

Former Poly basketball coach and assistant football coach George "Bucky" Kimmett, said last night: "I know you hear this phrase a lot, but Bob really did bleed Poly orange. He was very fair. He loved the school and believed in making people earn things, instead of just giving it to them."

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. today at St. Michael Lutheran Church, 9534 Belair Road, Perry Hall.

Donations can be made to the Baltimore Polytechnic Foundation, in care of Barbara Strickland, 1400 W. Cold Spring Lane, Baltimore MD 21209.

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