Centerville football coaching legend dies at 88

Bob Gregg, Centerville High School
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Bob Gregg, Centerville High School

Bob Gregg led Elks to 16 league championships

Bob Gregg, who won 23 league championships in a total of 40 seasons coaching football at Jefferson High School and Centerville High School, died on Sunday at 88.

One of his former Centerville players, college football analyst and former Ohio State quarterback Kirk Herbstreit, paid tribute to Gregg on Twitter.

“Coach was a legend on the field but so much more,” Herbstreit wrote. “He was TOUGH, DEMANDING, at times intimidating. But he taught us about TEAM, HARD WORK, PERSEVERANCE & SACRIFICE. Blessed to have him in my life!”

Gregg, a 1951 Centerville graduate who played college football at Wilmington, began his coaching career at Jefferson High School, where he had a record of 82-27-5 in 12 seasons and won seven straight league championships. He also coached track for 14 seasons.

Gregg won his last 29 games as head coach at Jefferson before moving on to Centerville in 1973. His first two teams won a total of seven games, but his next 12 teams won Western Ohio League championships.

“They didn’t think we could win, but I didn’t believe that,” Gregg told the Dayton Daily News in 1999. “We just had to change the work ethic around.”

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Bob Gregg in 1974

Credit: HANDOUT

Bob Gregg in 1974
Caption
Bob Gregg in 1974

Credit: HANDOUT

Credit: HANDOUT

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Bob Gregg in 1999

Credit: HANDOUT

Bob Gregg in 1999
Caption
Bob Gregg in 1999

Credit: HANDOUT

Credit: HANDOUT

In 28 seasons at Centerville, Gregg had a record of 219-62. His teams won 16 WOL championships. His career record was 301-89-5. He was inducted into the Ohio High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 1996.

“He was the foundation for our rich tradition and exemplified Attitude and Effort,” the Centerville Elks football Twitter account posted. “He will be greatly missed by all. Rest In Peace Coach. We love you.”

Gregg coached Centerville to the state final four in 1984. It was the first Dayton-area team to reach state in Division I. His 1991 team reached the state championship game, losing 24-21 to Cleveland St. Ignatius.

“We’re all hurting bad right now,” Gregg said after the game. “We’ve had more talented teams over the years, but none with more heart than this one. That’s the main reason we got this far. They gave it all they had. They showed everyone in the place, including St. Ignatius, they belonged here. We had it, but let it get away. The defense had everything they had under control except throwing to the backs underneath and that hurt us. I’m numb right now. They’re numb. Maybe I’ll see some good in this later this week, but none of us do now.”

Gregg retired after the 1999 season.

“Tough to give it up, but we all have to do it sometime,” Gregg then. “I’ve got a lot of good men behind me who’ll do a good job.”

Ron Ullery, who was an assistant to Gregg for 23 seasons, took over for Gregg in the 2000 season.

“He’s the ideal boss,” Ullery said in 1999. ““He’ll give you as much responsibility as you want. But he holds you accountable to make sure you work and succeed. He’s not egotistical. He doesn’t care if he gets credit, in my opinion. He just loves to coach, be around the kids and see them improve.”

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