Robert “Bob” Guelker

Coach of the St. Louis University teams that won five of the first seven NCAA soccer championship tournaments.

Guelker had been involved in St. Louis soccer for more than a decade at the youth and high school levels when he was named St. Louis University coach in 1958. Although the city had been a soccer hotbed for decades, the university did not have a team, and when one was started in 1958, it was as a club team rather than a varsity team. The team attained varsity status the following year, when soccer became an official NCAA sport, and in that first varsity season, Guelker led the Billikens to the inaugural NCAA title. They beat the University of Bridgeport in the final.

Guelker and his team weren’t just one-year wonders, however. St. Louis soon became a juggernaut, as it went on to win the NCAA title again in 1960, 1962, 1963 and 1965. In the two years in that stretch that it didn’t win the title, 1961 and 1964, it did make the final.

Guelker left the Billikens in 1966 to become coach at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, which was starting a soccer program. There, he won the NCAA Division II championship in 1972 and the NCAA Division I championship in 1979. Guelker also was coach of the United States team in the 1972 Olympic Games and the 1971 Pan-American Games.

Guelker’s St. Louis University teams had a record of  95 victories, nine defeats and five ties. In all, he won 312 games at St. Louis and SIU.

Guelker also was heavily involved in the administration of soccer, serving as president of the USSFA from 1967 to 1969, and was executive director of St. Louis’ Catholic Youth Council, an important youth soccer organization, from 1946 to 1969.

Inducted in 1980.