Monday, March 2, 2009

Robert Webster: The Quintessential Gaucho Great !

(Close-up Photo above shows "Uncle Weeb", our Team (Co-) Captain of the 1976-'77 UCSB Gauchos Men's Varsity Swim Team. That's Weeb in the middle, of course, with the long blond hair, moustache and beard. Photo by La Cumbre Photo, Copyright Matt Pfeffer 1977).

(Photo above of Wilson Year 2, the 1976-'77 UCSB Men's Varsity Swim Team. Photo source: La Cumbre Photo. Copyright Matt Pfeffer 1977).

(Photo of Uncle Weeb, circa 1985 at Gaucho Great (Varsity Tennis), Todd Lincoln, brother of Gaucho Great, Chris Lincoln (Swimming), Los Altos, Calif. Photo by Will Maguire.)

Robert Webster, aka (Uncle) Weeb, aka "The Doctor". Truly a Gaucho Great who swam and played water polo at UCSB. Uncle Weeb was not only a good friend and confident, he was also our team leader and served as Co-Captain during Wilson Era Years 1 and 2 and 3 (1975-1978). These first two years the Men's Varsity Swim Team was affectionately nicknamed "F-Troop" by Uncle Weeb as a compliment to the rag tag group of rough and not so rough and tumble swimmers who swam for Wilson, esp. during Year One (1975-'76) when Gregg came in having had no opportunity to do any recruiting. In Year Two, the team exploded with Freshman Talent and it was Uncle Weeb who kept these talented freshmen swimmers in line. Among the hot shot freshman talent were High School All American Swimmers, Gary "Sky" King, John "Spanky" Dobrott, Alan "Alfalfa" Talbot and several others recruited by Gregg.

Weeb was a natural leader and took his role as Co-Captain very seriously, including the enforcement of table manners (see our companion blog, Go Gauchos, for more on that at

Weeb was also a guy who loved to make people laugh. And so it should come as no surprise that when we would be in the pool and swimming laps in the afternoon and the girl's team would arrive and we would have to slide over to share the pool, that Uncle Weeb upon seeing this bevy of beautiful girls, would shout out (the not then politically incorrect) "Wagons Hoh... !"... which was always guaranteed to bring a chuckle amongst our team. Honestly, I don't think the girls could hear him because his timing and pitch were just right for only our team to hear.

It was also in Year One during Hell Week, on New Year's Eve that I arrived at Co-Captain Keith Cruickshank's apartment on the first block of Sabado Tarde for our team's New Years Eve party at about 9 pm with the party having started at 8 pm. As I was walking in along the walkway on the side of the building where the party was taking place I see Carol helping Gregg presumably to their car and then home. I looked over at Weeb and said "What's up with Wilson ?" Weeb replies, "Two Beers! That's why they call him "Two Beers" Wilson." Gregg is happy to say the least and is ambulatory with Carol's smiling support. And thus the legend is true for all those who came thereafter only to hear of it rather than to witness it.

Weeb also served as Assistant Swim Coach for several years with Gregg Wilson during the early 1980's. He left us too early but his spirit, enthusiasm and leadership will always be remembered. Today, the UCSB Men's Varsity Swim Team recognizes Weeb's memory by awarding it's "Robert Webster Team Spirit Scholarship" to the swimmer who best exemplifies leadership and team spirit.

In the photograph above, Weeb is seen at the wedding reception of Gaucho Great, Todd Lincoln (Gaucho Varsity Tennis), and big brother of Gaucho Great Swimmer Alum, Chris Lincoln, held in Los Altos, Calif., circa 1985. In addition to his leadership role on our swim team, Weeb was a De Facto Brother of the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity at UCSB where several of the Gaucho Men's Varsity Swimmers were active members, including Gary King, Alan Talbot, Art Verge, Matt Shieman and Will Maguire.

There is no doubt that Weeb is leading workouts in Heaven with his usual style and exuberance. God Speed Uncle Weeb ! Rest in peace, brother.

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