Bob "Muscles" Healy Jr
Champion Boxer and Instructor
Robert Healy Jr. was born on February 26, 1959 in Youngstown, Ohio, to parents Robert Sr. and Toxy Healy. At the time, Floyd Patterson and Ingemar Johansson were fighting for the Heavyweight Championship of the World and, closer to home, the late-Coach Chuck Senft was in his second year as boxing instructor at the Moore Park Recreation Center in Brookline.
Bob Jr., his mom and four siblings (Dave, Carol, Mike and Karen) moved to Brookline from Buffalo, New York, in 1972, and settled at 2528 Edgebrook Avenue. Bob Jr, known by his friends as “Muscles,” graduated from Brookline Elementary in 1973 and then attended South Hills High School, where he played on the football team.
Like so many other young men who lived in the East Brookline area, Bob liked to hang out at Brookline Park on Oakridge Street. It was there that he met the man who would help him forge a path in life that he continues to follow to this day. That man was Brookline Recreation Director and boxing coach Chuck Senft.
When the new Brookline Recreation Center opened in 1971, Senft was named director and brought his championship boxing club along with him. It was renamed the Brookline Boxing Club, and known by the catchy title "Charlie’s Angels."
Bob, along with several of his friends, joined the club and started working out. It wasn’t long before Senft's Angels, led by "Muscles" Healy, were blazing a path of destruction through the local and state Golden Gloves ranks.
Under Coach Senft, Healy won multiple local Golden Gloves titles. His brothers David and Mike were also members of the boxing club, with David being a multiple local and state Golden Gloves champion. The Healy brothers continued boxing for several years with Coach Senft, who Bob regards as like a father figure to himself and his brothers.
After graduating from South Hills High School in 1977, Bob went on to Dean Tech to study electrical engineering and briefly attended the Community College of Allegheny County. He secured a job at Shadyside Hospital as an electrician and was later promoted to foreman.
In August 1982, he married Lisa Colonna of Dunster Avenue and settled down to start a family. Bob and Lisa raised their two children, sons Daniel and Robert III, on Berkshire, and then Norwich Avenues. The family moved to Baldwin Township in 1993, but their hearts remained in Brookline. Bob also has a daughter, Faith, born in 2002.
Inspired by his mentor Coach Senft, “Muscles” returned to the Brookline Boxing Club as an instructor in the 1990s. Reunited with his former coach, Bob was able to pass on his skills and knowledge to a new generation of Brookline fighters. He also introduced boxing to his sons Dan and Bob III. Carrying on that Healy tradition, Dan went on to become an undefeated Golden Gloves champion and Bob III an undefeated amateur boxer.
Bob Healy’s acumen for getting the most out of his kids also translated to the baseball diamond, soccer pitch and hockey rink, where for several years in the 1990s he coached his kid’s teams. His Brookline Minor and Little League teams won in-house titles in four consecutive years: 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995.
During the 1995 season, he went on to lead a group of scrappy baseball players, including his son Bob III, to the City of Pittsburgh Mayor’s Cup Championship. In 1998 he chalked up yet another local in-house championship, this time on the Senior League level, and then spearheaded the return of American Legion baseball to Brookline, a team he coached from 1999 to 2001.
This championship touch carried over to the other sports as Coach Healy led Brookline soccer teams to three consecutive in-house championships (1991-1993) and the Brookline traveling soccer team to 1990, 1992 and 1994 Pittsburgh Citiparks championships. He also helped contribute to his son Daniel’s ice hockey successes both here in Pittsburgh and beyond.
After several years as an instructor with the Brookline Boxing Club, Bob moved on to train fighters at the Carrick Boxing Academy and later the South Park Boxing Club, where he still serves as the club’s director. Over the years he, like his mentor Chuck Senft, has voluntarily coached hundreds of amateur fighters and a few notable professionals, including USBA and FECARBOX Welterweight Champion Sammy Vasquez. Others were Sean Conway, Mike Conway, Matt Conway, Leslee Perella and former Brookline Boxing Club champ Mark Daley.
To honor his accomplishments as both champion amateur fighter and boxing instructor, Bob “Muscles” Healy will be inducted into the Pennsylvania Golden Gloves Hall of Fame during a 5pm ceremony to be held on March 31, 2018 at the Royal Place. It is a well-deserved recognition for one of Brookline’s best boxers, best coaches and, like Coach Chuck Senft before him, someone who has been, and continues to be, a great friend and mentor to so many.
Written by Clint Burton: March 4, 2018
* Thanks to Bob Healy III for the photos and information on his father *
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