Former Tiger and varsity football coach Bob Virden earns induction into WHC Athletic Hall of Fame

By The Leader Staff
LHS and West Hills grad Bob Virden was named recently to the West Hills College Athletic Hall of Fame.
LHS and West Hills grad Bob Virden was named recently to the West Hills College Athletic Hall of Fame.
Photo Courtesy Dennis Gallegos

A former Lemoore High School graduate and former football coach, Robert Virden, was inducted Saturday night (Oct. 26) into the West Hills College Athletic Hall of Fame. He was one of five former Falcon athletes to earn induction into this year’s 23rd Annual West Hills Hall of Fame.

The event was held at the college’s gymnasium on the West Hills Coalinga campus. In addition to Virden, other inductees included W.C. Halliman, Pernell Halliman, Woodrow Harrison, and Jackie Ponciano-Babb. The inductees were also recognized during halftime at the Falcon’s football game Saturday against Modesto College.

Virden, following his high school graduation, attended West Hills College Coalinga – then Coalinga College – from 1963 to 1965.

Following his Lemoore High School graduation, Virden played football for two years at West Hills College. He primarily played on the defensive line, where he garnered honors including most valuable defensive lineman (1964), most tackles (134) and most quarterback sacks (21) in a season.  

He was named to the All-Conference Defensive Team/Defensive line in 1963 and 1964, All-American in 1963 and 1964 (Honorable Mention) 100% club for the Falcons, and 1964 team captain.   He went on to play semi-professional football with the Fresno Raiders from 1970 to 1971.  

Saturday night’s induction was the second of his athletic career. In 1998, he was inducted into the West Hills Athletic Hall of Fame as part of the 1964 football team.  

After his WHC graduation, he went on to Arizona State University and later earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education as well as degrees in mathematics and biological sciences.   He received his master’s in education and an administrative credential from Fresno Pacific University in 1988.   

He spent 35 years in education.  He served as a math and biology teacher. He also coached wrestling, tennis, and football. He was also the principal of Los Banos High School and Reedley High School.  His coaching career spanned 25 years that included serving as head football coach at Madera, Reedley, and Lemoore High School.  From 2008 to 2015, he served as an educational consultant. 

As a coach, he’s earned honors, including West Yosemite League Coach of the Year in 1987. 

In 2005 and 2007, he went on mission trips to the Tongan Islands to help in establishing two solar water wells that provided clean water for one of the small islands.  He also helped create several libraries and computer labs for the Island schools as well as consulting in their educational system working with their teachers.

He is active in his community, including in his Rotary Club as the Sanger Rotary Club Secretary.

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