Bob Kilbourne was born and raised in Big Stone Gap, Virginia where he graduated from Big Stone Gap High School in 1937. Immediately upon graduation, he joined the United States Army at Ft. Myers, Virginia serving in 1937 and 1938.
In the fall of 1938, he entered Hiwassee Junior College in Madisonville, Tennessee where he excelled in both football and basketball. In 1940, he entered Emory and Henry College on a football scholarship, but quickly established himself as one of Virginia’s premier basketball players. While at Emory and Henry he was a two-time All-State selection while leading the state in scoring his junior and senior years. During his four year career, he scored a total of 1,657 points, breaking by 61 points a record established by Hank Luisetti (Stanford, 1938).
Kilbourne graduated in 1942 and began his coaching career at Appalachia High School before leaving to go to Thomas Jefferson High School in Richmond. While at Thomas Jefferson he was assistant football and track coach and helped guide the football team to the 1943 State Championship and the track team to the 1944 State Runner-up, falling by one point to Newport News High School. Kilbourne came to Petersburg in 1944, where he coached football, boysÕ basketball and track. During his 26 years as head basketball coach, he amassed a record of 268 wins against 209 losses. He closed his coaching career with a district tournament title followed by two district regular season championships.
In 1970, Petersburg’s two high schools were merged and Kilbourne was asked to assume the task of combining two highly successful athletic programs while maintaining a level of success. He accepted that challenge as athletic director, a position he held for 10 years until his retirement in 1980. Kilbourne is deceased but he will always be recognized as one of the finest gentleman to serve the field of sports in Virginia.