Smart Jocks, Long Talks and Pink Socks:
The Life of Coach Robert Burgess
The biography of a successful small-college eastern Washington tennis and basketball coach who exemplified a traditional style of teaching play, and sportsmanship. It also provides a fascinating look at the changing role of college athletics in the last half of the twentieth century. Born to a family run by a single mother, Burgess found an outlet in athletics. After serving in the Pacific War in the Navy, he began a family and a coaching career. Serendipity found him taking over the moribund Whitman College tennis program.
He fought for improved facilities and budgets, worked to carve out a place for athletics within the college liberal arts curriculum, and coached his teams to several conference and regional championships. And, he built as reputation as a thoughtful, decent man who had a profound life-long influence on the young men who competed for him.