A halfback at the University of Southern California (USC) in the early 1950s, Buckley was a member of the 1953 Rose Bowl championship team as the Trojans defeated Wisconsin, 7-0. They finished the season with a record of 10-1-0 and ranked No. 5 in the nation. Buckley, who was in his early 20s when he played for USC because he served in the army and then attended Junior College, remained in the Los Angeles area after graduating and became a real estate agent.
Birth and Death Dates:
Buckley, who grew up in Brooklyn and attended Lafayette High School (same school as baseball great Sandy Koufax), went west and attended Santa Ana Junior College in California before joining the USC varsity football team in 1951. During the year, Buckley was involved in a controversial play in No. 14 USC's game against No. 18 Oregon State in the middle of the season. Buckley caught a touchdown pass from teammate Frank Gifford, which proved to be the difference in USC's 16-14 victory. Oregon State coaches and alumni, upon reviewing the game film, believed Gifford was over the line when he passed the ball and suggested the Trojans forfeit the game - USC declined the suggestion. They then followed their victory over Oregon State with a 21-14 victory over No. 1 California, which ended Cal's 38-game regular season undefeated streak. USC won their next two games (against Texas Christian and Army), but then stumbled at the end of the year, losing their final three games to finish the season with a record of 7-3-0 (4-2-0 in the Pac 10 conference for fourth place). Buckley finished the season with 49 rushes for 183 yards and two receptions for 19 yards.
Buckley was considered a key member of the Trojan offense heading into the 1952 season, but was injured in the opening game against Washington State. The Los Angeles Times reported, "The hard-hitting right halfback suffered a wrecked shoulder...Bob was one of the most popular players on the squad." Buckley ended up missing the rest of the season as the Trojans went on to capture the Pac 10 championship, defeat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, and finish No. 5 in the country. While Buckley missed the 1952 season, he was selected in the 1953 NFL Draft in the 28th round by the Washington Redskins, although he still had a year of eligibility remaining at Southern California. He returned to the Trojans for the 1953 season and helped lead them to a record of 6-3-1 (4-2-1, third in conference).
Buckley played halfback at USC, 1951-53.
5'10, 184 pounds
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Los Angeles Times, October 18, 1951
Los Angeles Times, September 13, 1952
Los Angeles Times, September 21, 1952