HOUSTON - The Houston television news community is dealing with a very tough loss.
Former KHOU and KTRK sports director Bob Allen died at the age of 70 after a battle with cancer.
He covered Houston sports for more than four decades.
KHOU 11’s Matt Musil worked with Bob and spoke with others who knew Bob best:
“When you think about sports and you think about sports broadcasting in Houston - Bob Allen,” said Tim Melton, former KTRK sports reporter.
“Bob lived a great life. He really did. He lived a life that every sports fan would want to live,” said George Jensen, former KHOU photojournalist.
Sports broadcasting allows fans to have a voice, but sometimes one voice stands out more than others.
Bob Allen was that voice.
“We lost a giant,” Bob Allen reported in 2013 after the death of Oilers coach Bum Phillips. “Not in stature, but in heart, human decency, warmth and humor.”
Many of us feel the same way about Bob. The players, teams and stadiums have come and gone, but for nearly 40 years, Bob was a constant.
And some of the most memorable moments were during the Oilers “Luv Ya Blue” era.
“Early this week he got a call from Wade Phillips,” said Melton. “He was in the middle of ‘Luv Ya Blue.’ He loved those guys and they loved him.”
Former Oiler Earl Campbell remembers Bob being in the middle of everything, including that famous scuffle with Dan Pastorini and Dale Robertson.
“Pastorini hit me, hit that guy, knocked that guy into me. I fell down the stairs. Bob Allen asked me, ‘you ever thought you’d get knocked down by Pastorini?’” said Campbell in a recent interview.
“You know I had my days with him, I got mad at him,” Pastorini reflected. “I’d want to throw him through a door, you know, but you can’t argue with the truth.”
Big games - Bob saw plenty of those. Great moments - viewers lived them through his reports.
But to Bob, sports was about more than just scores. It was about relationships.
“He was as good a friend and you could expect to work with,” said Melton.
“He always kept it light, it didn’t matter what the situation was, how badly the Texans and Astros and Rockets were losing. He would always come in and just tell a joke,” remembered KHOU 11 Sports Reporter Daniel Gotera.
“We were in Kissimmee at Astros spring training. It was my first spring training with Bob, and he was talking to a younger player. The guy was - you could tell he was a little timid answering all the questions. And then just out of nowhere, Bob didn’t skip a beat, he asked ‘Did you ever think you’d be interviewed by Bob Allen?’” laughed KHOU photojournalist Bob Luna.
“I know a number of times he went up to new coaches that maybe he wasn’t getting along with very well, and he would say, ‘I was here long before you got here, and I’ll be here long after you’re gone,” said Jensen.
“That was Bob. That was Bob,” said Luna.
Bob called himself a father, a grandfather, a broadcaster, a believer, a speaker and author. Yes, he was all of that, but he was also our voice.
Bob Allen will always stand for Houston.
“He always told me that no matter what, just ‘be yourself,’” Gotera remembers. “Be who you are. Don’t let anybody change you.”
“I’ll always consider him a legend. And I would call him that, I would tease him. He was a great guy,” said Luna.
“He really cared about covering sports, and covering sports the right way,” said Jensen.
“I just can’t express how good he was and what a relationship Bob and myself had,” said Campbell.
“I loved him like a brother,” said Pastorini. “He’ll always be special to me.”
“He’s going to be missed. Houston will miss Bob Allen,” said Jensen.
He was on Houston TV for more than 40 years, but he also devoted a lot of his time to the Special Olympics and Sunshine Kids.
He found out a couple of weeks ago that his cancer had returned, and he spent his final days surrounded by family members.
I first met Bob when I came to KHOU 11 36 years ago, and we competed hard against each other for many years. But also during that time we became good friends.
People never knew this, but through the years when he was at KTRK, Bob would call me from time to time to compliment me on different stories I had done.
He always encouraged me.
I’ll never forget his encouragement or his million dollar smile.
And like many of you, I’ll never forget our friend, Bob Allen.
- Matt Musil, KHOU 11 Sports
(© 2016 KHOU)