NO. 18

Hoosier hero

Former pro football player Bob Cowan is the only athlete in three Indiana halls of fame.

If Fort Wayne ever develops a Sports Hall of Fame, Bob Cowan should be one of the founding inductees.

Joining a Hall of Fame has become a common practice for Cowan, who is the first and so far only athlete to be inducted into Indiana's high school halls of fame for track, football and basketball.

During his North Side athletic career, Cowan earned 11 letters, consistently leading the Redskins to titles. During his senior year in 1940, Cowan scored 155 points in eight games to set a state record as North Side won the mythical state football title, and he helped the Redskins reach the semistate level in basketball. In track, he won the 220-yard dash, finished second in the 440 and anchored the winning relay team as North Side won the state title.

Cowan then attended Indiana University, lettering in basketball in 1943 and in football in 1942 and 1946 with time off in between to join the Air Force. He started at right halfback his sophomore and junior seasons in football before signing a contract his senior year to play with the Cleveland Browns. He played two years with the Browns before being traded to the Baltimore Colts.

The Browns and Colts were both members of the All-American Football Conference, and the Browns won the league title both years Cowan played for them.

Cowan left his playing days to start his prep coaching career in 1950 at Defiance (Ohio) High School. He later coached and taught at North Side, helped develop the Wildcat Baseball League, and pushed for the implementation of girls sports in Fort Wayne. He recently retired after a career as a Fort Wayne Community Schools administrator.

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