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In Remembrance of former Div. 47 president, Bob Singer, PhD

A brief recognition of the life of Dr. Bob Singer.
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By Doug Hankes, PhD

Robert N. (Bob) Singer, a pioneer in the fields of motor learning and sport psychology and a former president of Div. 47, passed away peacefully on Monday, May 20, 2019, at the age of 82. Many of you may have already read Chris Janelle’s — associate dean for academic and student affairs in the Department of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology at the University of Florida — heartfelt obituary that excellently captured the life of his friend and mentor. As Chris stated, “Bob’s accomplishments as a scholar, leader, teacher and mentor are legendary. He will be remembered as a true pioneer in the fields of motor learning and sport psychology. Bob was a selfless, tireless and innovative servant leader in the field of sport psychology,” including serving as the president of Div. 47.

Kate Hays (also a former president of Div. 47) posted a note on the Div. 47 listserv “recognizing our loss with the death of the energetic, knowledgeable, engaged Bob Singer, an early president of Div. 47. What stands out for me — aside from being able to lean heavily on his Handbook (for some of my scholarly endeavors) — is the way in which he took on the role of his presidency in a new and somewhat rudderless division of a very large organization with which he’d not had much familiarity. He not only helmed effectively, he created a structure that reflected the larger organization in a meaningful way for many years.”

Bob was an icon. In 1984, when I was researching master’s degree programs, Bob Singer and FSU were at the top of my list. Also on the list were Dan Landers at Arizona State; Dan Gould and Glynn Roberts at Illinois; Brad Hatfield at Maryland; Deb Feltz at Michigan State; and — of course — Bob Weinberg at North Texas State, where I eventually started my sport psychology journey.

Bob was past president of Div. 47 when I became the newsletter editor (Chris Janelle, by the way, was the student representative). I still remember how lucky I felt to be on my first Executive Committee (EC) with Bob and many other individuals that I had so much respect for professionally. What I also remember was how much he liked to have fun. He worked hard and played hard. When I was having a difficult time getting an article for the newsletter from another EC member, I specifically recall him taking that person to task. Bob’s words to me, “Apparently, they do not take their responsibilities as an EC member as seriously as the rest of us.” I never forgot that vicarious lesson.

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