Bob Vigars has taught and coached at Western for 46 years and during that time has made significant contributions to sports that have benefited the London sports community and aspiring athletes from the local area. He has coached his teams to one Gymnastics, 11 Track & Field and 16 Cross Country championships in Ontario University competition. In Canadian University competition, his teams have won three women’s Track & Field titles and seven women’s and four men’s titles in Cross Country. That total of 14 team championships is very significant if you consider that the total number of CIS championships by all Western teams is 31.
Bob Vigars was born in St. Thomas in February, 1944. He went to elementary and high school in St. Thomas and then attended Southern Illinois University where he graduated in 1967 with a Bachelor of Science degree. In 1968 Bob received a Master of Arts degree in Physical Education from California State University. He was hired at the University of Western Ontario in 1968 to teach a number of courses and to coach. The men’s Cross Country team won its first Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union championship in 1970 — the first CIAU-recognized championship for any Western team.
In 1973, Bob developed the playing regulations for the first Ontario University Indoor championships in Track & Field. He started the Western International Invitational Cross Country meet in 1977 on a cross country course that ran behind Brescia College. In 1986 Bob designed a Cross Country Course on Thames Valley Golf Course. That course has been used for 27 years and has hosted the Western International Meet 27 times, the Ontario University championship meet once and the Canadian University championship meet 6 times. This November will be number 7. “The Valley” course is regarded as the best university cross country course in the country. Bob has been meet director for all of these events and that brings the number of events that he has directed in his career, including Track & Field, Cross Country and Gymnastics to an amazing 350.
Bob founded the London-Western Track & Field Club in 1970. He was the founder of the Canadian University Coaching Association for Cross Country in 1976 and Track & Field in 1980.
Bob’s numerous awards include the W Club Hall of Fame in 2001, Western’s Cross Country and Track & Field Wall of Fame in 2000, CIS coach of the year 14 times, and OUA coach of the year 28 times. In 2000 he became the first recipient of the Distinguished Service Award for OUA Track & Field.