Bob Whitmore, a Purcell Pavilion Ring of Honor inductee and trailblazing standout for the University of Notre Dame men’s basketball team, passed away at the age of 73.
“We have lost one of our great players, but also a great gentleman. Bob Whitmore laid a foundation for this program that is still being felt to this day. My thoughts and prayers go out to Bob’s family, friends and former teammates.” – Glenn and Stacey Murphy Head Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Brey
The catalyst of a Washington, D.C., pipeline that includes Irish all-time greats Austin Carr, Adrian Dantley, Collis Jones, Sid Catlett and Don Williams, Whitmore finished his career at Notre Dame with 1,508 career points in three full seasons (freshmen were ineligible under NCAA rules at that time), which ranked third all-time at Notre Dame when he graduated. His rebounding prowess was even more notable, as he hauled in 1,043 missed shots to rank second at Notre Dame upon graduation. He is still one of only six players to collect over 1,000 career rebounds at Notre Dame.
Whitmore was a prep school legend when he came to Notre Dame. He led the 1965 DeMatha Stags to a 46-43 win over Power Memorial (N.Y.) in one of the greatest high school games ever played. Memorial was led by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. DeMatha boasted senior Whitmore and junior Catlett. The victory ended a 71-game win streak for Power Memorial. Whitmore left DeMatha for Notre Dame having posted a 55-3 record in his final two years with legendary Stag head coach Morgan Wootten.
His statistical superlatives include a 43-point outburst against Butler in 1967, six 20-point, 20-rebound performances (still the most ever for an Irish player) and a still-standing school-record 30 rebounds against St. Norbert’s on Dec. 14, 1967. Whitmore also compiled 47 career double-doubles, which stands third historically at Notre Dame.
Whitmore helped the Irish win 54 games over three seasons, advance to the semifinals of the National Invitational Tournament in 1968 and earn an NCAA tournament berth in 1969. He was drafted by both the NBA and ABA and eventually returned to Notre Dame as a graduate assistant in 1973-74 to serve as a mentor for future Hall of Famer and fellow Notre Dame Ring of Honor inductee Dantley.
It cannot be overstated what the Washington, D.C. pipeline has meant to the Notre Dame basketball program. Mike Brey and associate head coach Rod Balanis are DeMatha graduates. All-American Jerian Grant (2011-15) was a DeMatha Stag, three-time Irish captain Eric Atkins (2010-14) and rising junior guard Prentiss Hubb call D.C. home, as did former University president and Notre Dame forward Edward ‘Monk’ Malloy (1960-63), Tracy Jackson (1977-81), Tom Sluby (1980-84) and Monty Williams (1989-94).
Whitmore Notre Dame Statistical Rankings
- Third in double-doubles (47)
- Fifth in rebounding (1,043) — only six at ND have grabbed over 1,000 rebounds
- Fifth in rebounding average (12.4)
- T-12th in field goals made (609)
- 13th in field goals attempted (1,281)
- 15th in free throws made (362)
- 15th in scoring (1,508)
- Fifth in rebounding (414, 1967-68)
- Ninth in rebounding average (13.8, 1967-68)
- 10th in rebounding average (13.7, 1966-67)
- 10th in free throw attempts (219, 1967-68)
- 10th in rebounds (384, 1966-67)
- 12th in points (661, 1967-68)
- 14th in free throws made (157, 1967-68)
- 14th in field goals made (252, 1967-68)