Forbes was Hampton’s ‘gutsy linebacker’ in ’56

Published 10:26 am Monday, June 29, 2015

As the anchor of John Pansock’s Hampton defense during the Bulldogs’ first Watauga Valley Conference Football Championship team in 1956, there was no doubt what you would feel when Robin Forbes finally caught you.
“He was a gutsy linebacker,” former teammate David Holtsclaw said. “He had a nose for the ball, and whoever had that ball, Robin would get them. He wanted to make tackles.”
During that 1956 season, Forbes led the vicious defense that allowed only 18 points in the Bulldogs’ six Watauga Valley Conference wins, which included three shoutouts.
“He was a key in high school,” said Holtsclaw, who was Hampton’s first 1,000-yard career rusher, with 1,400 yards during that championship season. “I was the offensive guy — I carried the load on offense — and he was the defensive guy that carried that defense.”
Forbes earned All-Watuaga Conference recognition in his final two seasons at Hampton in 1955-56. But his career didn’t end at the high school level. After high school, Forbes served in the Army for a brief period, and while he and Holtsclaw didn’t know it, they were close even then.
“I was in the Marine Corps and he was in the Army,” Holtsclaw said. “We just happened to be over there at the same time. I had no idea he was over there.”
After their time in the service, each came back and played football at ETSU.
During Forbes’ sophomore year, he was part of a co-champion Ohio Valley Conference team, as the Bucs finished 7-3. During his senior season, Forbes earned second team All-Ohio Valley Conference honors.
After his senior season, Forbes went on to sign a free agent contract with the Cleveland Browns, but an injury that he sustained in an automobile accident ended his football career.
Holtsclaw was inducted into the Carter County Sports Hall of Fame with the second class in 2013 and he is happy to see someone that he considers a great friend, finally join him.
“He certainly deserves this recognition in Carter County, I guarantee you that,” Holtsclaw said. “He was a great friend and look back and smile at a lot of the times that we shared together.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox