Saturday, December 24, 2016

Virginia Union: The White Shadow on basketball, life

RICHMOND, Virginia — Dave Robbins misses basketball.

“I can’t help it, I do miss it.” said Robbins, who led tiny Virginia Union University in Richmond, Va. to three NCAA Division II national basketball championships in three different decades. The man called “The White Shadow” left coaching eight years ago. The first white coach in Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) history, Robbins amassed a 713-194 mark during a 30-year tenure.

He thinks about the sport constantly.

“It’s like someone who has been around horse racing all of their life,” said Robbins. “It’s a part of them. They miss the smell of the barn, the feel of the turf, the smell and feel of being around the horses. I’m a basketball coach. That’s what I did. I miss the smell of a gym. I miss seeing guys work hard to perfect their game and to work as a team. I miss it.

“As far as x’s and o’s are concerned, there’s no doubt that I could still coach. I’m not that far removed from the game. But it is a young man’s game. I realize that. The travel, the recruiting, it wears and tears on you. I don’t think I could deal with that. I’m 74 and that’s asking a lot of an old man.”

So these days, he spends a lot of time with his wife of 42 years, Bunny. He also spends a lot of time playing golf.


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