Some shocking news came out of Richmond yesterday as Dave Robbins, head coach at Division II Virginia Union, announced his retirement after 30 years at the helm of the Panther program.
Now, to those who didn’t grow up in the area, or are not familiar with CIAA basketball, this means nothing to you. But, for the rest of us, this was a monumental announcement. For starters, in today’s age, any coach who stays at a school more than 10 years has made a major accomplishment. Robbins did that, plus more. But being the first white coach hired in a conference of Historically Black Colleges and Universities was perhaps Robbins most difficult task to overcome.
For years, Robbins was “affectionately” known as the “Shadow” among his coaching colleagues and fans alike. It could have been easy for Robbins to let this get to him, and it probably did — sometimes. But, methinks that was part “test” by those in the CIAA to see how real he was and part jealousy.
Whatever it was initially, Robbins put his stamp on the CIAA and Division II basketball and leaves one the most successful coaches in history. In his 30 years at Union, Robbins compiled a 713-194 record, won three Division II national championships and coached three future NBA players — Charles Oakley, Terry Davis and Ben Wallace.
Good luck, Coach Robbins.