Bob Warren, Teammate Who Asked for Forgiveness, Passes Away

Bob Warren, left.

Bob Warren, left.

I was saddened to receive an email from Perry Wallace today informing me that his former teammate Bob Warren has passed away. After his playing career at Vanderbilt, Warren played for a decade in the American Basketball Association (ABA) and then became a minister in his home state of Kentucky. A teammate of Wallace’s during Wallace’s first year on the Vanderbilt varsity, Warren is a key figure in Strong Inside. Chapter 1 opens with a scene at Professor Wallace’s office at American University in Washington, DC. Warren has come to visit his old teammate to deliver a message nearly 40 years in the making, asking Wallace for forgiveness for not doing more to help him during his tumultuous pioneering experience in the SEC. Wallace’s touching reply is the final scene in the book. Without giving away the ending, Wallace considered Warren a true friend and a good and decent man, noting that those who really ought to be asking for forgiveness would never even think to ask. I enjoyed interviewing Bob Warren for the book and I know his visit to DC to see Perry was meaningful to Wallace. My deepest condolences to Bob Warren’s family.



    • admin says

      Thank you for your comment, Dona. I believe everyone Bob knew feels the same way. I was so pleased to be able to interview him for this book, and I regret that he will not be able to see it. But his story will live on.

  1. Bob Walden, BE '68 - Vandy says

    Bob Warren and I became great friends at Vandy. Having similar last names, we sat very close to each other in our classes at Vandy, both majoring in EE. During next four years, He and I learned to study toghether, and trust one another. My passion for basketball only made our bond more solid. Bob will be the first to tell you that if it wasn’t for me helping him with his studies (no breaks for student-athletes, graduating with a B avg in EE), he would never have made it.

    On the contrary, if it wasn’t for him, I would never have made it. His down to earth persona, his continuous positive outlook on life, his STRONG work ethic, and his willingness to soak up all that he could in his studies motivated me to be the best person I could be. He kept me going when the going got tough. Having gotten a chance to visit with him a few years ago at his “Hill”, I was truly amazed at his life accomplishments. I know he has touched many people’s lives and will continue to do so through his Christian ministry.

    As for Perry Wallace, I only wish that I was where I am know with understanding human relations in this country then. I accepted his right and ability to be at Vandy as a very gifted and intelligent man. But having no connections whatsoever with African Americans in my youth, I did nothing to support his situation. I think I truly missed out on a golden opportunity for my personal development. Looking forward to reading “Strong Inside”.

    • admin says

      Thank you for taking the time to write, Bob. Very interesting that you two had such similar names and became friends. Bob was an amazing man and I am honored to tell just a part of his story in “Strong Inside.” I hope you will enjoy the book.

      • Robert Walden says

        Thanks for writing this book. I have finished reading it the first time. I plan to read it at least one more time. I gave my college roommate and very dear friend a copy for Christmas. He had read the excerpts in the Tennessean and was so glad to get it. The special meaning that Perry’s story has for me is that I was there (my last 2 years, 66-67 & 67-68,), but yet I wasn’t there, if you know what I mean. So grateful to have learned so much about Perry. Thanks again!

  2. Kim Warren says

    My husband, Bob Warren, would be so proud that Perry Wallace ‘s story has been told. He loved him and was honored to call him his friend. I am so looking forward to reading this book.

    • admin says

      Mrs. Warren — Wow, what an honor to have you comment on this site. I know Perry felt the same way about your husband. It was a thrill to interview Bob for the book and his story about going to visit Perry in DC was so touching and insightful. I wish all the best for you and your family and I hope you will enjoy reading about your husband in the book. Thank you very much for taking the time to write. Andrew

  3. Paul Hemphill says

    I have a photo of Bob Warren #21 in my office. He’s suspended in the air under the basket at Memorial Gym making an underhand pass to #25, Perry Wallace, who is waiting to pounce. The Tennessee defenders never had a chance. He was my favorite player at Vandy, even though I was a classmate of Perry, graduating the same year, but don’t tell Perry. Perry and Bob were both class acts in all respects. Both were credits to their race…..the human race. By the way, #25 was Vandy’s #42. Coming from Texas where football was king, those dynamic, fast break teams were nothing short magical to this novice teenager. I got older, but the memories richer. RIP, Bob. ROMANS 14:7-9

    • admin says

      Thanks very much for sharing this story, Paul. It’s so great to hear from Perry’s classmates. Bob Warren was indeed a special person as well and I’m honored to tell part of his story in the book, too. Thank you for taking the time to write. Hope you will enjoy the book. Andrew

  4. Barry Finley says

    I met Mr. Warren at his hill, and being an old high school basketball player not far from his home, I was excited to met an ex pro. After listening to him talk and preach, I was much prouder to know his heart, and know we will talk again some day.

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