Robert Joseph Thalman obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Robert Joseph Thalman

November 5, 1922 - January 31, 2012

Obituary


Bob "Coach" Thalman, of Atlanta, died peacefully on January 31, 2012. He was 89 years old. He is survived by Mary Thalman, his wife of 62 years, his brother William Thalman, sister Mary Jane Schuetz, his four children, Linda Norwood, Robert Thalman, Carolyn Laraway, and Tommy Thalman, and ten grandchildren. Coach Thalman was born on November 5, 1922 in Wheeling, West Virginia. He attended Central Catholic High School in 1940. He began Belmont Abbey Junior College in 1942, but following the break-out of World War II he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was...

Bob "Coach" Thalman, of Atlanta, died peacefully on January 31, 2012. He was 89 years old. He is survived by Mary Thalman, his wife of 62 years, his brother William Thalman, sister Mary Jane Schuetz, his four children, Linda Norwood, Robert Thalman, Carolyn Laraway, and Tommy Thalman, and ten grandchildren. Coach Thalman was born on November 5, 1922 in Wheeling, West Virginia. He attended Central Catholic High School in 1940. He began Belmont Abbey Junior College in 1942, but following the break-out of World War II he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was a Sergeant for the Fifth Division of the Marines who fought on Iwo Jima, one of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific campaign. In honor of his service, he received the Presidential Unit Citation. Following the War, he continued his education at the University of Richmond where he earned a B.A. in Economics in 1948. For 46 years of his life he was involved with sports, as a player, coach and administrator on the high school, college, university, and professional level. He coached college football for thirty eight years. His football coaching career began in Richmond, Virginia at Benedictine High School where he coached for three years followed by two years at Norview High School in Norfolk, Virginia. His college coaching career started at Hampden-Sydney College and he served as head coach and Athletic Director for four years, winning two Mason Dixon conference titles. In 1960, he joined the football staff at the University of North Carolina where he coached defense for seven years. He joined the staff at Georgia Tech in 1968 where he coached defense for four years. He then served as an assistant coach at Virginia Military Academy (VMI) for three years before being named head coach in 1971. Over his fourteen years as head coach at VMI he rebuilt what had been a losing football program into a competitive one that won two Southern Conference titles. He was known as an eternal optimist and preached and coached positive thinking, helped his players understand the importance of believing in themselves and never giving up. Coach Thalman has received numerous awards throughout his coaching career, including: Hall of Fame honors from the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, Hampden-Sydney College, University of Richmond, and the Virginia Military Institute. He also received Coach of the Year honors from the American Football Coaches Association, the Southern Conference, and the State of Virginia. He received numerous civic and sports club awards from organizations across the state of Virginia. Bob Thalman impacted hundreds of lives throughout his life and will be missed dearly as a loving husband, father, grandfather, coach and friend. The family requests In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Robert J. Thalman Scholarship, Hampden-Sydney College, PO Box 637, Hampden-Sydney, Virginia, 23943 or the Alzheimer's Society of Atlanta, PO Box 550831, Atlanta, GA 30355. A Funeral Mass will be Saturday, February 4, 2012 at 10 o'clock at Holy Spirit Catholic Church. Interment will follow at Arlington Memorial Park.