on December 1, 2007 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Daniel’s Robinson named area’s Coach of the Year

CENTRAL — When Randy Robinson took over as the Daniel High School football coach last season, the school celebrated as one of its most popular teachers took over the reigns after serving as assistant coach since the 1995 season.

Things got off to a rocky start, however, as the Lions stumbled out the gate to an 0-4 ledger, but late in the season the tide turned as they piled up four region wins to earn a playoff spot.

It quickly showed Robinson could get the job done at Daniel, and that season was just a precursor to one of the Lions’ most successful seasons in recent memory that wrapped up just two weeks ago.

For his accomplishments this past season, Robinson has been named the 2007 Daily Journal/Daily Messenger Golden Corner Coach of the Year.

But the ever-humble Robinson, known as Coach Rob to his students and players alike, quickly deflected the credit to everyone but himself.

“It’s a reflection on the guys around me and I appreciate the honor, but it’s about the kids and the coaches around me,” he said. “Our assistant coaches work real hard, we always had good defensive game plans, and the offensive coaches kept working and we steadily improved every week.”

The Lions captured the Western AAA region title for the first time since the 2001 season, and reached the third round of the playoffs for the first time since 1999 to finish with an 11-2 record, including an unblemished 7-0 record in region play.

This team dwelled up some favorable comparisons to Daniel teams of the past, including the 1997 team, which nearly made it to the state championship games as they flew under the radar, much like the 2007 squad.

“I really thought all year long that this team had fun playing together, they were all buddies, they pulled for each other and it was just one of the years where no one expected a lot and the kids accomplished it,” Robinson said. “This group reminded me of them because they just had fun this season.”

All season long, Robinson said the excitement around this team began during the summer, when the Lions had high attendance for voluntary workouts and weight sessions. It was unlike anything he had seen in recent years, and he knew his second season could be a special one because of it.

“You never realize how much of an effect it has on a team to build that confidence in the summer,” Robinson said. “All of a sudden we see guys hanging out together and the offensive and defensive guys were pulling for each other. Then after the first game, you never saw any finger pointing from there on out and they played together.”

Robinson will return the majority of his team next season, and they will be expected to contend for the school’s first state title since 1998.

But regardless of whether or not the team brings home that title, the seniors of this year’s team will always standout to Robinson for their role in getting the Lions back among the elite teams in the state.

“Even though my seniors last year had only four wins, they were special,” Robinson said. “I sat them down and told them they’d always be my first group, and they were. But I think this is the first group that got us on top. We won a region championship, which is what we expect at Daniel, and we got deep in the playoffs. That’s something we can always look back to those seniors and we can appreciate their sacrifice to get us there.”

And Robinson will use them as motivation for next season, which has the potential to be a banner year for the Loins.

“I’ve already challenged the underclassmen,” he said. “I told them the seniors took us from the first round to the third round, and we challenged the rising group to take us from the third round all the way. I think those guys will always be remembered as the guys who got us back to the top.”