James Robert Gregory (1920-2007) was a student, athlete, teacher and administrator at NWMSU for over 40 years. "Bob" first came to Northwest as a student in 1939 and excelled as an athlete under the mentorship of both Coach Ryland Milner and Coach Wilbur "Sparky" Stalcup. As a senior, he received the coveted Howard Leech scholastic athletic award and was selected to an All-Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association team.
After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Bob returned to Northwest to earn an additional degree and to teach basketball theory. He later received a master’s degree from the University of Indiana. He was a teacher and coach at Shenandoah (IA) High School (1946), Maryville High School (1947-51) and Grand Island (NE) High School (1951-1954).
In 1954 he was hired as the head basketball coach at Northwest. He coached or assisted with just about every sport during his long career at the university. He also served as assistant athletic director starting in the early1970s until his retirement in 1986.
More importantly, Bob was a teacher and mentor. He enjoyed his years in the classroom immensely. Along with his coaching and administrative duties, he continued to teach health and safety. He successfully developed a driver training program that provided summer workshops and hands-on experience for high school driving teachers. The scholarship in his name specifically honors his dedication to scholarship and teaching.
Bob was inducted into the M-Club Hall of Fame in 1987. After retirement, he continued to support the university as an athletic booster and volunteer. He and Coach Milner were instrumental in establishing the motto, "Once a Bearcat, Always a Bearcat," and Bob definitely lived up to this expression of loyalty for the rest of his life. He loved the university and he loved being a Bearcat.