Bob Gage was born in 1920 in Smithville, Ontario. He graduated from Western in 1943 and served in the Canadian military for the remainder of the Second World War. After re-entering civilian life, he joined the staff of the Canadian High News, a periodical focussed on high school sports. In 1949 he took a job with the London Free Press, where he fully embraced his passion for sports journalism.
Over his thirty-three year career, Gage spent much of his time reporting on amateur sport, including athletics at Western. Indeed, Gage said in 2008 that promoting amateur sport had been his life-long mission. According to legend, during his career he never missed a home game of the Mustangs men’s basketball team. When Frank Cosentino’s contract with the Toronto Argonauts prevented him from publicly declaring his interest in coaching Western’s senior football team, Gage informally raised the possibly with the university’s Athletics Department. Gage also covered the Summer Olympic Games in Rome (1960), Tokyo (1964), Mexico City (1968), Munich (1972), Montreal (1976), and he attended the games in Seoul (1988).
Bob Gage’s contributions to sports at Western continued long after his retirement from the London Free Press in 1982. During his lifetime he established several awards to fund athletics at Western and he regularly supported the “Adopt-A-Mustang” program. In 2001 he wrote Mustang Tales: A History of Men’s Sports in the 20th Century at Western, an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the history of male athletics at Western. Additionally, he donated $57,000 to help with the construction of the Michael Kirkley Training Centre at the JW Little Building of TD Waterhouse Stadium, where the weight room was named in his honour. To commemorate his contributions to athletics, he was made a member of the men’s basketball teams’ Hall of Honour, Western football’s Wall of Champions, and the W Club Hall of Fame. Upon his death in July 2009, Gage left $1 million to Foundation Western. This donation is used to help support the JP Metras Sports Museum and to fund the Bob Gage Athletic Leadership Awards.