Former Oilers DB Bob Atkins passes at age 74

By BEN GOSS

Robert Lee “Bob” Atkins, Jr., a seven-season Oiler defensive back who was also a long-time athletic administrator and coach at Prairie View A&M University, passed away Tuesday.

Atkins also played for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1968-1969 before joining the Oilers from 1970-1976.

After graduating from Luther J. Price High School in Atlanta in 1964 as a three-sport star in baseball, basketball, and football, Atkins attended Grambling State University, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in physical education and recreation in 1972.

In 1986, Atkins earned a master of education degree from Prairie View.

In 1968, the St. Louis Cardinals drafted Atkins in the second round as a cornerback, and he quickly became known for his exceptional speed and his authoritative hits.

Atkins was traded to Houston in 1970.

During his seven-year career with the Oilers and long afterward, Atkins earned great respect for his achievements on the field and in his communities.

In 1984, Atkins served as head women’s basketball coach and assistant football coach for over 20 years before assuming administrative duties as the Panthers’ director of athletic operations; he retired in August 2011.

On July 8, 2017, Atkins was inducted into the Grambling Legends Hall of Fame.

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