His love for athletics began at the early age of four and that love remains today. Robert L. “Bob” Pataky was an instrumental member of the men’s gymnastics team in the 1950s, and since his days at Springfield College, he’s left a lasting impression on the sport with his tireless work teaching and coaching.
Pataky was a team captain and MVP at Springfield, being crowned the New England Collegiate and Amateur Athletic Union still rings champion.
After graduating in 1957, he served as the president of the Gymnastics Association of Puerto Rico and coached their first Olympic team in 1960.
Pataky coached for 10 years at Port Jefferson High School in New York, compiling an impressive record of 104-4. His teams won eight league and three county titles. He produced 12 state champions, 22 second-place finishers and 14 third-place finishers. He was also named State Coach of the Year in 1966 and Teacher of the Year in 1963.
In 1972, he began a U.S. Gymnastics Training Center Summer Camp to increase gymnastics participation with high caliber coaches. The camp quickly grew in two years to having more than 400 gymnasts attending each week with a staff of 75 coaches from the United States, Russia, Romania, China, France, the Netherlands, Germany, and Hungary.
For 20 years, Pataky owned the nonprofit Eastern School of Gymnastics in Deland, Fla., which produced 50 female state champions.
In 1980, he began a 15-year endeavor to provide free clinic and instruction policy, designed to help coaches raise funds for their school or club in the New England region.
In 1996, Pataky began competing in the Senior Games, where he’s garnered more than 300 medals, trophies and citations in tennis, long distance running, track and field, bowling, and dance. He quickly became nationally ranked and even placed fourth in the discus throw in the National Masters Championship.