Bob Titchenal 1917-2009

Bob Titchenal, the head coach of the San Jose State College football team from 1957 through 1964 and team captain of the 1939 Spartans that was 13-0, died on July 5, 2009 in Santa Rosa, Calif. He was 91-years-old.

Courtesy San Jose State Athletics

Bob Titchenal, the head coach of the San Jose State College football team from 1957 through 1964 and team captain of the 1939 Spartans that was 13-0, died on July 5, 2009 in Santa Rosa, Calif. He was 91-years-old.

The native of Ventura, Calif., was a football and basketball star at San Jose State earning varsity letter awards during the 1937 through 1939 seasons. A 6-foot-2, 190-pound center on the football team, the Spartans compiled a 35-3-2 win-loss record in three seasons. As a senior, he was an honorable mention All-America player and captained the 1939 Spartans - the school's only team to complete a season undefeated and untied. Dudley DeGroot was the head coach with Pop Warner serving as the advisory coach.

Mr. Titchenal played professional football as a center and end for the Washington Redskins (1940-42) of the National Football League (NFL) and the San Francisco 49ers (1946) and Los Angeles Dons (1947) of the All-America Football Conference. In 1942, the Redskins won the NFL Championship and he was named to the NFL's Pro Bowl.

His coaching career began in 1948 at West Virginia University as an assistant to DeGroot. He made stops as an assistant coach at the University of New Mexico (1949-50) and Denver University (1951-52). He was the freshman team's coach at the University of Southern California in 1956.

Before Mr. Titchenal returned to San Jose State in 1957 as the football head coach, he served as the University of New Mexico's head coach for three seasons (1953-55). The Lobos were 5-3-1 in his first season and he was named the Skyline Conference Coach of the Year.

Mr. Titchenal coached eight seasons at San Jose State compiling a 33-54-1 win-loss record. His overall record as a college football head coach was 45-61-2.

Super Bowl-winning coach Dick Vermeil, a quarterback on the 1957 Spartans, and quarterback Chon Gallegos, the 1961 NCAA passing leader, are among the best known players he coached at San Jose State.

The late Bill Walsh (1931-2007), a San Jose State graduate and three-time Super Bowl winning coach, assisted Mr. Titchenal in his first year as the Spartans' head coach according to Barbara Titchenal, his wife of 67 years.

"He was a great football guy and a great person. I loved being around him. We traveled together, did a pretty good job coaching and had a lot of fun doing it," said Gene Menges, who was Mr. Titchenal's only assistant coach to work with him in all eight seasons at San Jose State. "Our guys all respected him and that's what it is all about."

Mr. Titchenal remained at San Jose State after his head coaching tenure with the rank of full professor in the physical education department teaching various activity classes. He retired from the university in 1987.

The 1940 San Jose State graduate was a member of the Tau Delta Phi honor society and earned his master's degree from the University of New Mexico in 1951.

Mr. Titchenal interrupted his professional football career to serve in the Navy during World War II and attained the rank of lieutenant.

"Bob Titchenal was one of the many great Spartans who spanned generations of San Jose State football as a player, coach and teacher. As the athletics director at San Jose State, I'm honored and humbled by the legacy men like Bob Titchenal have left for our current student athletes and coaches to emulate. God bless Coach Titchenal and his family," said Tom Bowen.

His wife, Barbara; three sons, Gary, Alan, and Robbie; and three grandchildren, Michael, Christy and Matthew, survive Mr. Titchenal.

A memorial service is planned and details will be announced in the near future.

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