Pillar of Achievement - 2001
Bob Breitbard is “the keeper of the sports flame” in San Diego. The native San Diegan, longtime president of California Linen Supply, established the Breitbard Athletic Foundation in 1946 to honor the San Diego area’s “hometown heroes of the past, present and future.” Since 1953, the Foundation’s Breitbard Hall of Fame, which developed into the San Diego Hall of Champions Museum and Archives (in Balboa Park), has been the ultimate regional honor for high school, amateur and professional athletes and coaches.
Breitbard was an early member of the Greater San Diego Sports Council, and continues to serve on its successor, San Diego International Sports Council. The group of successful civic-minded businessmen is responsible for building San Diego’s Jack Murphy Stadium, and bringing the Chargers AFL-NFL franchise and Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres to town, as well as other first-class sports events and facilities.
The Hoover High School and San Diego State alumnus was the driving force behind the construction of the San Diego Sports Arena and was owner of its original tenants, the Gulls of the Western Hockey League (1966-1974) and NBA’s Rockets (1967-72). Breitbard was a member of the Board of Governors of both leagues.
Breitbard played football at Hoover High and San Diego State, and coached at both schools. In 1945, he was the Aztec’s volunteer head coach, helping to reestablish the college’s football program after World War II.
He has received numerous honors for his innovative, spirited and successful contributions to the world of sports, as well as his generous philanthropy. In 1967 and 1974, The Hockey News named Breitbard “Executive of the Year”. He was the San Diego Press Club’s “1984 Headliner of the Year”. The San Diego International Sports Council named it’s highest award the “Bob Breitbard Award”, and its namesake was the first recipient in 1998.