The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By David Stevens

Good day to remember Bobby Field


September 10, 2017

Bob Anderson remembers hearing football coaches in Muleshoe complain about Bobby Field in the mid 1960s.

“We’ve got the best quarterback in the state living here and he’s playing in Farwell,” Anderson laughed as he remembered the conversation.

Actually, Field grew up in the West Camp community, southeast of Farwell, near the line that separates the Panhandle school districts.

That wasn’t the last time somebody wished Field played for their team.

After graduating from Farwell High School in 1967, the highly recruited speedster chose to play college football at Arkansas.

Field said the Razorbacks became his favorite team on Oct. 17, 1964, after he watched them beat the University of Texas, 14-13, in a nationally televised game.

He started games his sophomore, junior and senior seasons at Arkansas, and played in “The Game of the Century” when Texas defeated the Razorbacks, 15-14, for the national championship on Dec. 6, 1969. Field, a strong safety in college, recovered a fumble that led to Arkansas’ first touchdown in that game.

Today is a good day to remember Bobby Field because he recently was named to the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame. An induction ceremony is scheduled Oct. 20.

Field began coaching at the Los Angeles school in 1978 and spent most of his career there before retiring as associate athletic director in 2013.

Farwell still remembers him as one of its greatest athletes.

“He was the best player in our conference for sure, and maybe in the state,” Anderson said.

“He was a good runner. You don’t see many high school quarterbacks as good as he was.”

His name seldom comes up when discussion turns to the greatest athletic success stories in this region’s history.

That’s because his work since his playing days has been mostly behind the scenes, outside the spotlight.

He was an assistant coach for seven conference-championship football teams at UCLA. Fifteen of the Bruins’ teams he coached played in post-season bowl games.

Even more quietly, he led the transition of UCLA women’s rowing from a club sport to a varsity sport — which meant scholarships for women athletes who might otherwise never have made it to college.

And he’s been actively involved in exploring ways for athletes to earn money without compromising the integrity of amateur sports.

Field is also credited with helping retired Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman complete his bachelor’s degree 19 years after Aikman left UCLA. After learning Aikman needed just two classes to graduate, Field reached out and helped arrange for Aikman to take those classes online.

After UCLA inducted Aikman into its Athletics Hall of Fame, UCLA Newsroom reported that he told Bruins fans he was just as proud of his degree in sociology.

“(T)o me, it was just kind of unfinished business. So being able to finish that — and then to fulfill a promise that I’d made to my mom — feels pretty good,” Aikman said.

And so, after helping so many others achieve their goals in life — on the athletics field and off — it’s good to see Bobby Field receive a little recognition.

David Stevens is editor for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at: [email protected]


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