Bob's choice of a career in sporting goods was influenced early in his life. In high school, he played varsity basketball for four years. In the summers, while still working in the family business, he coordinated the local YMCA basketball and softball recreation leagues. After college, while still coordinating the YMCA leagues, he also helped establish local youth baseball leagues and continued to play semi-pro baseball. Upon founding Zides' Sports Shop, he turned his passion for sports into a lifelong commitment to athletes and their teams. Bob's focus for 45 years was on the athlete's enjoyment, protection, and potential performance. His primary emphasis was on providing the best possible protective equipment for each player, and he was the first dealer in the country to individually fit helmets and shoulder pads on players, doing so for teams of all levels in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
Bob held a total of nine patents for athletic equipment, including the 1983 patent on a type of shock absorbing mount for football helmets that protects wearers from severe shocks and prevents severe
deformation of the helmet shell.
Bob was honored in February of 2003 by the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association for improving the safety of young athletes. He was also responsible for the creation of the Mid-Ohio Valley Sports Hall of Fame, and he worked to promote the enjoyment of athletics and the safety and performance potential of all athletes.
Bob passed away at the age of 68 in 2003. The Bob Zide Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in his memory and supports students who have participated in athletics and reside in the counties of Washington and Noble in Ohio and Wood, Jackson, Pleasants and Ritchie in West Virginia to pursue their higher educational goals.