CLASS OF 1986: Bob Anderson ✯ Echoes of the Hill

“Were it not for the friends and deep relationships I formed at Norwich, I would not be able to survive the challenges that lay ahead.”
–Raymond Alexander ’66

A speaker, trainer, and mentor, Bob Anderson ’86 uses the language of emotional intelligence to develop leaders and build communities. (Courtesy of Bob Anderson ’86.)

A speaker, trainer, and mentor, Bob Anderson ’86 uses the language of emotional intelligence to develop leaders and build communities. (Courtesy of Bob Anderson ’86.)

Bob “Ando” Anderson ’86 thinks of these words, spoken by his cousin Raymond Alexander ’66, every day.* It was indeed his cousin who inspired him to attend Norwich. That beginning, followed by the education Bob gained and the leadership skills he honed, have defined the contours of his life ever since.

Arriving on campus as a two-sport athlete, Bob quickly put to use his
innate ability to inspire others. His exuberant personality and aptitude for
leadership soon reflected in the long list of placards affixed to his dorm-
room door: football and lacrosse team captain, class president, Honor Committee chair, Corps Committee chair, first battalion commander. Yet he is reluctant to claim these successes as his own, instead crediting professors, mentors, coaches, and fellow students for challenging him to reject mediocrity.

“This story is theirs, too,” Bob insists, naming football coach Barry Mynter, lacrosse coach Wally Baines, Spanish professor Eduardo “Chico” Hernandez ’72, roommate Chris Wiedle ’86, and Cadet Drill Sergeant First Class Karl Moisan ’84, among many others, as his guiding influences.

Throughout his studies in modern languages—a program which gave him the ability to “truly speak to my men” as an Army officer—Bob was thirsty for knowledge, drinking in every leadership example he could find. Upon graduation, he brought his Norwich-learned skills to multiple global deployments: Korea, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Panama, and Kuwait. Although the latter two were in-theater, Bob is hesitant to label them combat tours—perhaps in deference to two of his closest Norwich friends, Army Generals Mark O’Neil ’86 and Frank Muth ’86.

“There are men and women out there with six, seven, eight combat stripes,” he explains. “When you shoot at someone and they shoot back, that’s one thing. But when you’re under duress for 18 months at a time? I can’t claim to be in that league.”

Humble, charismatic, and driven all at once, Bob modeled his leadership style after Moisan, who was fiercely dedicated to his rooks. “Karl came to our games. He helped when we struggled academically. He gave us so much that his own grades suffered, but he knew that we knew he’d wake up for us in the middle of the night.” Later on, with that level of dedication to his own Army command, it’s easy to imagine how Bob’s troops performed.

After the Army, Bob spent three years teaching in California, then created 1Hero Sports. Leveraging his military experience, athletic abilities, and unique understanding of a star athlete’s psychology, Bob harnesses the techniques of emotional intelligence to help Special Operators and professional athletes overcome destructive behaviors and thoughts that hinder their performance and relationships.

Of his clients, who include Green Berets, Navy SEALs, and NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB players, Bob says, “They don’t give a s**t that I went to Harvard” (where he earned an MEd). “They don’t care how much I know, until they know how much I care—yet another lesson I learned at Norwich. And I care very much.”

In his “spare” time, Bob runs ultra-marathons, learns new languages (he’s conversant in six), and volunteers for numerous causes. Occasionally, he relaxes at home in Stowe, Vt., where he lives with his wife, Heather, daughter Sierra and son Camden, and their two dogs.

“In everything I do, I hear echoes of the Hill,” he concludes. “Without Norwich, I wouldn’t be who I am, or where I am, today.” –Jane Dunbar

*Editor’s note: At the time Bob’s cousin, Raymond Alexander ’66, spoke these words, he had just suffered a catastrophic spinal cord injury. Visiting him at the VA Hospital in West Roxbury, Mass., and witnessing the unwavering dedication of Ray’s classmates in holding constant bedside vigil, left an indelible mark on Bob’s heart. Ray passed away in 2013 at the age of 71.

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