Monday, June 19, 2017

Dave Robbins' Virginia Union legacy has passed the test of time

RICHMOND, Virginia -- Almost a decade has passed since Dave Robbins hung up his coaching whistle after making basketball history at Virginia Union University.

Robbins, 74, spends his time on the golf course, traveling with his wife and fishing on a pond on a little farm the couple bought in Amelia County, about 45 miles outside Richmond. He still attends Virginia Union home games, and he keeps up with the game, loves the way U.Va.’s Tony Bennett runs his program and occasionally works on a book that he’s been drafting for several years.

At the annual Virginia Sports Hall of Fame golf tournament and reception held two weeks ago at Staunton’s Ironwood Golf Club, Robbins (Class of 2012) showed up, which was a treat for the impressive gathering.

Most younger-generation basketball fans aren’t familiar with Robbins’ accomplishments. In 1978, he took over a Union program that had never won a CIAA title and never won an NCAA tournament game. It was a controversial hire at the time because Robbins was the first white coach in the CIAA, historically made up of predominantly black colleges and universities.

Nobody complained over the next 30 years as Robbins directed the Panthers to three Division II national championships (1980, 1992, 2005), 14 CIAA championships and 21 NCAA tournament appearances. Along the way, he compiled a record of 713-194 and produced five NBA players: Charles Oakley, Ben Wallace, A.J. English, Terry Davis and Jamie Waller.


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