|Updated: 12/19/2013 3:51 pm
||Published: 12/19/2013 3:49 pm
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Northeastern State University named Rob Robinson as the 19th head football coach in school history, it was announced Thursday by NSU Director of Athletics Tony Duckworth.
Robinson has spent the last 12 years under Craig Schurig as a member of the Washburn Ichabod coaching staff, serving as the offensive coordinator for the last four seasons. He also directed the running backs for the last seven years and coached the wide receivers for the five years prior to that. He served as the recruiting coordinator from 2002-10 and was the academic coordinator from 2010-13.
"Rob Robinson was on my short list from the beginning, and once I began having conversations with him it was clear he met the characteristics I sought in our next head football coach,” Duckworth said. “Coach Robinson is a great addition to the NSU family, and he will be an outstanding leader of our football program. I am thrilled Rob, Jes and their children will wear green and white."
“I am very excited for the opportunity to take over a program at a great university,” Robinson said. “I didn’t want to be a head coach just to be a head coach. I wanted to be at a place that has a chance to be successful, and Northeastern State has everything it needs to build a quality program.”
Robinson has been an integral member of a Washburn staff that has turned around the Ichabod program over the last decade. Washburn averaged 3.3 wins from 1989-03 and had just one winning season, but the Ichabods have averaged 7.9 wins from 2004-13 and have posted 10 straight winning campaigns.
Washburn has competed in the NCAA Division II Football Playoffs three times in the last nine years (2005, ’07, ’11) and captured the first MIAA Championship in school history in 2005. The Ichabods also won the 2004 Mineral Water Bowl and the 2010 Kanza Bowl.
In Robinson’s first season as offensive coordinator, he led Washburn to 10th in the nation in scoring offense (37.2 ppg) and 10th nationally in total offense (460.3 ypg). Washburn ranked fifth in the nation in total offense (481.5 ypg) and 11th in scoring offense (38.6 ppg) in 2011, and the Ichabods were once again 11th in the country in scoring offense (40.9 ppg) in 2013.
The 2011 campaign was arguably the best in school history, as WU won a school-record 10 games and lost just three. One of those victories included a 52-49 triumph over Abilene Christian in the first round of the NCAA Division II Football Championship, marking the first playoff win in school history.
Robinson is the second former coordinator under Schurig’s tutelage to become the head coach of another program, joining Fort Hays State's Chris Brown.
“I would like to thank Washburn Head Coach Craig Schurig and Director of Athletics Loren Ferrè for allowing me to be part of something special for 12 years. Without them, I am not the new head coach at Northeastern State,” Robinson said. “I learned so much under two great people about how to do things the right way. I have not only learned how to become a coach, but I have grown as a total person. I would also like to thank Tony Duckworth and (NSU President) Dr. Steve Turner for allowing me the opportunity to lead the football program at NSU.”
At Washburn, Robinson coached two players who earned All-American distinction. He also had six players receive various all-region awards and 18 players who landed All-MIAA accolades at either wide receiver, running back, fullback, or kick returner. He guided the top two offenses and the top two passing seasons in school history. In 2011, he directed quarterback Dane Simoneau to a second-place finish for the NCAA Division II College Football Player of the Year Award (Harlon Hill Trophy). Simoneau tossed 38 touchdowns and became the first Ichabod signal caller to throw for more than 4,000 yards.
In 2007, Robinson’s first as running backs coach, he guided Ra’Shawn Mosley to the school’s all-time rushing crown as he finished with 1,199 yards, four shy of the Ichabod single-season record. Washburn notched the third-highest single-season rushing total in school history with 2,351 yards on 495 carries with 29 touchdowns. Ichabod Brandon Walker earned All-MIAA Second Team honors and Mosley finished as an honorable mention all-conference pick. In the kickoff return game, Cary Williams averaged 28.6 yards per return to finish 10th in the nation. He was named to the All-MIAA First Team.
While coaching the Ichabod wide receivers, Robinson guided four of the top seven receivers in school history. Those included two All-MIAA selections, an all-region receiver and Sam Sissom, the No. 4 receiver all-time in the MIAA and Washburn’s career leader in receiving yards and receptions. In 2004, Sissom became only the third Washburn receiver to go over the 1,000-yard mark as the Ichabods broke the school record for most passing yards in a season.
Robinson spent the 2001 season at Pittsburg State as a graduate assistant, coaching the defensive backs with Ichabod head coach Craig Schurig. The Gorillas won the MIAA Championship that year.
“I have coached in the MIAA for 13 years now, and I think that experience has helped give me a great perspective of how to build a successful program at this level. You must have the right model to be successful in this league. You have to recruit the right kind of players and you must have the right kind of coaches that can figure out what the other coordinators in this league are doing,” Robinson said. “This conference, from top to bottom, is one of the sharpest that you’re going to play against in terms of collective football minds. We can’t just get better athletes; we’re also going to have to do our due diligence in scouting each and every week to put together game plans that can slow down what the other teams are going to try to do against us.”
Robinson received a bachelor of art degree in history from William Jewell College in 2000. He was a four-year letterman and three-year starter for the Cardinals at fullback. He was named the 1997 and ‘98 Special Teams Player of the Year and was an all-conference selection his junior season. He was named to the Player’s Leadership Committee and to the All-Heart of American Conference Third Team as a senior.
Robinson and his wife Jes have two sons, Tabor (8) and Beckett (7), and one daughter, Grier (3).
“The state of Oklahoma is a football-rich tradition area. From college to high school, football is the No. 1 sport in the state. They want to play and they know how to play. The level of prospect that I think you can get in Oklahoma is high and that is going to be our backyard,” Robinson said. “The location of Tahlequah was a big draw for me because you can hit Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas all within two hours, and Texas is only three and a half hours away. We are going to be a high school-based team. We are going to recruit the state of Oklahoma hard. This is going to be an exciting time to get the RiverHawks back to where we need to be.”
Coach Robinson, Jes and their children will be greeting members of RiverHawks Nation during part of Saturday's basketball doubleheader with Central Missouri. Admission will be free of charge. Fans are encouraged to attend to help welcome the Robinson's in RiverHawks Porch during halftime of the women's game and in-between games prior to the men's tipoff. RiverHawks Porch is located directly behind the chair backs on the mezzanine level.