Shamrock was a guiding light in the lives of the future mixed martial arts legends, and welcomed both Ken and Frank into his “Shamrock Boys Home” in Susanville, Calif., a haven for delinquent youth.
Ken Wayne Nance came to Shamrock’s home at the age of 13.
"I just watched Ken's eyes when he first arrived, because this was my home,” Bob Shamrock was quoted in a press release. “It wasn't some business place where I came on from 8 till 5 -- it was my home, and the house was really big, we ate well, we had a swimming pool, and all those kinds of things. It was a lot different than the other group homes he had been in."
Ken flourished at the Shamrock home, which encouraged the boys to compete in a variety of sports. Shamrock settled disputes between the teenagers in backyard boxing matches under his supervision.
In February 1982, Bob legally adopted Ken, who changed his last name to Shamrock. Later, Frank also assumed the surname to recognize Bob’s positive influence in his life.
Bob attended multiple MMA events to support Ken and Frank’s burgeoning careers in the U.S. and Japan in the 1990s. Shamrock assisted other fighters as well. Future UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver traveled from Iowa to Lockeford, Calif., to join the patriarch’s “Shamrock 2000” team.
Ken Shamrock said his father had a way with all who crossed his path.
“My dad had an unbelievable light with these kids -- I’ve never seen anybody able to take a defiant kid into their home, and handle them like my father could -- willing to get into a fight with them if he had to because of disrespect and then turn around and hug them and let them know, the minute you give me respect -- I’ll give you respect,” said Shamrock. “Everyone that came in contact with my dad --you could tell he made a difference in their life. I’ve never seen anyone have that much success with kids. I’ll miss him and I’m forever thankful.”