Bob Ackles began his tenure with the BC Lions in 1953 as the water boy in the team’s first season. He worked his way up through the ranks and was named the Lions’ General Manager in 1975.
Over the next eleven years he guided the team out of financial difficulty, built a new training centre and office complex and oversaw the move from Empire Stadium to BC Place. Implementing an aggressive marketing campaign, Bob cultivated a season ticket base of 30,000 fans and on the field the team won their second
Grey Cup in 1985.
The next season he was lured to the NFL where for the next six years he was the Vice President of Player Personnel for the Dallas Cowboys. He served in similar senior positions with three other NFL teams and the Las Vegas Outlaws (XFL).
In 2002 Bob was enticed out of retirement and returned to the BC Lions as CEO and President. Under his leadership, the Lions once again became a league force. Bob was named to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
In 1986 he won the Schenley Award for his contribution to Canadian football, the only non-player to be recognized in the thirty-three-year history of the award. To quote retired sports columnist, Jim Taylor: “How do you better define a ‘builder’ other than as a man who was there when the business opened, played a huge role in making it grow and, after he had moved on to greater success and challenges in the NFL, put aside his retirement plans and returned to get it back on track?”
Bob Ackles was THE builder of football in British Columbia and the CFL.