Perhaps the best big man to ever wear Brown and White, Bob Fortune was a force in the paint on the offensive and defensive end. The all-time leading scorer and rebounder when he graduated, Fortune was powerful inside but had the finesse and quickness of a guard.
"Bob Fortune was the best player I ever played basketball with," said former teammate and current color analyst for Lehigh radio Greg Falkenbach '72. "Bob is easily the best big man to play at Lehigh in at least the past 30 plus years that I've been following the program. He could do anything. He was strong and powerful inside, yet very quick off the floor with his jump shot. Bob could have two guys on his back and still score, and he was relentless rebounder. I remember him being so quick that he would beat everyone including the guards in the suicide drills in practice."
Fortune raised the bar for Lehigh basketball during his career as an Engi-neer. Fortune set the Lehigh scoring record with 1,242 points in just three seasons of eligibility, a record that stood for six years before Charlie Brown '77 scored 1,311 career points. He is currently fourth on the all-time rebounding list with 824 career boards and has the fourth best single season total with 292. Fortune averaged 16.8 points per game over his career, fifth best in Lehigh history. He was a first team ECAC All-Star and was selected the MAC's most valuable player. While Fortune put up some impressive individual numbers, he may be best known for his uncanny leader-ship on the court and his ability to lead his team to success. As a sophomore Fortune led Lehigh to its first winning season in 15 years with a 12-11 overall record in 1967-68. In 1969-70, as a senior, Fortune led the Engineers to three straight wins over Lafayette to secure a spot in the Middle Atlantic Conference playoffs. He scored 31 points in the special playoff game between the Leopards and Engineers that secured Lehigh's first trip to the MAC playoffs at the Palestra. He was team captain as a junior and senior and was just one of two double winners at Flagpole Day.
Following his senior season, Fortune was drafted by Wilmington of the Eastern Basketball League with their second pick. Fortune received several offers to play overseas and was even approached by the Dallas Cowboys to play football.
"I am grateful for this huge honor and achievement," said Fortune. "I will cherish it forever. I certainly enjoyed each and every one of my years at Lehigh. About ten years ago I saw that Lehigh was preparing to build a Hall of Fame in Taylor Gym. Then about six years ago I came back for a partnership event and had a chance to walk through the Hall. I came away that day hoping that someday I might be lucky enough to enter the Hall."
Fortune earned his bachelor's in Mathematics in 1970 and is currently the Vice President of Construction Management for BBL Construction Services in Albany, New York. He is very active in the community serving as a board member of Junior Achievement of New York, the University of Albany Foundation and Chair of Athletics Council. He is also a board member and past chairman of the Sunnyview Hospital.
Fortune resides in Clifton Park, New York with his wife Anne and daughter Amy.