OUNGSTOWN, OH- John Robic has agreed to a four-year contract to be the head men's basketball coach at Youngstown State University, Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, Jim Tressel announced on Tuesday.
John Robic meets the press.
Robic, a native of western Pennsylvania, has an extraordinary amount of experience as an assistant coach, serving two years as a graduate assistant at Kansas (1986-88) and 11 seasons (1988-99) at UMass.
"In 13 seasons as a Division I assistant coach, John Robic has been a part of 299 victories, a 69.0 percent winning percentage, 11 trips to the NCAA Tournament, two Final Fours and a national championship," said Tressel. "That is winning as we would like to enjoy it."
After serving under the tutelage of John Calipari and James "Bruiser" Flint, Robic ends an 11-year term at UMass that saw the Minutemen post a remarkable record of 247-111, including nine trips to post-season play. The Minutemen went to the NCAA Tournament in 1992, 1993,1994, 1995,1996, 1997 and 1998, advancing to the NCAA Regionals in 1994-95 and the Final Four in 1995-96. They advanced to the NIT in 1990 and marched to the NIT Final Four in 1991.
Heidi and John Robic
Robic joined Calipari as an assistant in 1988-89 and inherited a program that went 11-16 and 10-17 in the two season prior to the two joining forces at UMass. After suffering through a first-year of 10-18 in 1988-89, the Minutemen went on to enjoy nine straight winning seasons. He advanced in the coaching profession in 1995-96 when former UMass associate coach Bill Bayno accepted the head job at UNLV, elevating Robic to associate coach. He proved he was more than up for the challenge, teaming with Flint to secure what Lindy's Basketball tabbed as the 16th best recruiting class in the nation for 1996-97 (Mike Babul, Ajmal Basit, Chris Kirkland, Monty Mack, Winston Smith). Last year, Robic helped land a pair of Street & Smith's All-Americans for the 1997-98 campaign (Ronell Blizzard, Jonathan DePina).
Robic, 35, began his coaching career at his alma mater, Denison, serving as junior varsity coach during the 1985-86 season. He then moved to Kansas as a graduate assistant under legendary coach Larry Brown. During his two seasons at Kansas, the Jayhawks recorded a 52-22 mark, advancing to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 1987, before winning the NCAA Division I National Championship in 1988.
"John Robic is the type of person and coach that will take YSU basketball to the next level," said YSU President Dr. Les Cochran.
A native of Pittsburgh and a graduate of North Hills High School, Robic attended Walsh University and played for Peters. He later transferred to Denison where he was a two-year captain and a Division III All-American as a senior. Despite playing just two seasons, Robic is the sixth leading scorer in school history.
Robic inherits a team that went 14-14 last season and returns nine letter winners and two red-shirts.
"We will begin work immediately to be at our best next March at the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament in Fort Wayne, Indiana," said Robic.
MHERST - University of Massachusetts men's basketball associate coach John Robic is awaiting word on whether he'll become head coach at Youngstown (Ohio) State University.
Robic also interviewed at New Hampshire, but was not included on the list of three finalists the school released yesterday.
"They're the first two head coaching jobs I've ever interviewed for," said Robic, 35. "I've always wanted to be a head coach."
Robic interviewed at New Hampshire Friday and last spoke with Youngstown State Saturday. He said they are the only two open Division I men's basketball jobs in the country.
Youngstown State sports information director Rocco Gasparro said his school may announce its decision today or tomorrow.
The Penguins were 14-14 last year, one year after winning 20 games for the first time in the school's Division I history. They play in the Mid-Continent Conference, whose most prominent team lately has been Valparaiso (Ind.).
Youngstown State needs a coach after Dan Peters resigned to become an assistant at Cincinnati. Robic said the Youngstown interviews involved a 12-hour screening process.
"That was a little bit surprising, and intriguing," Robic said. "I met with about every committee and board you can imagine."
Robic has been with UMass since the 1988-89 season, preceding head coach Bruiser Flint to the program by one year. Prior to that, he served two years as a graduate assistant at Kansas, and belonged to the staff that won the national championship in 1988.
Robic has Ohio ties, having played at Walsh College in Canton. He then transferred to Denison University in Granville, Ohio, where he earned Division III All-America honors.
If Robic leaves UMass, Flint could fill the opening with assistant Geoff Arnold. A third assistant, Mike Connors, is also on staff, but Arnold is considered second to Robic and is also Flint's close friend from the days they both played for St. Joseph's.
It's also possible UMass could go outside the program for an assistant, especially if a candidate surfaces who might strengthen the Minutemen's recruiting profile. UMass has signed only one recruit for next year, center Micah Brand of Milford (Conn.) Academy.
Robic's strength has always been viewed in terms of tactics and strategy. When he was elevated from assistant coach to associate coach in 1996, he said the opportunity allowed him to sharpen his recruiting skills.
He was instrumental in bringing forward Chris Kirkland, who is from Robic's native Pittsburgh area, to UMass. Other players, including Mike Babul, have also spoken well of Robic's recruiting style.
And while Adam Harrington of Bernardston chose to attend North Carolina State instead of UMass in 1998, Robic's involvement was considered a positive aspect of the Minutemen's bid to recruit the Pioneer Valley Regional School star.
Robic said if he's hired at Youngstown State, the hardest adjustment may be moving his family from an area it loves. He has three daughters, the oldest of which is 7, and lives in Florence.
"If I come back here, there would be nothing wrong with that," he said.
New Hampshire's finalists include New York Knicks assistant Paul Cormier, Harvard assistant Kevin O'Brien and Keene (N.H.) State head coach Phil Rowe.
ssociate Head Coach
The veteran of the UMass coaching staff and widely recognized as one of the gameís top tacticians, John Robic begins his 11th year in Amherst and his third as the associate head coach.
A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., Robic is heavily involved in all aspects of the UMass program, including recruiting, scouting and tactical planning.
A fine player himself, Robic began his collegiate career at Walsh College in Canton, OH, and then transferred to Denison University where he was a two-time captain and a Division III All-America as a senior in 1986.
He began his coaching career at Denison before becoming a graduate assistant at Kansas under Larry Brown for two seasons, including the 1988 campaign when the Jayhawks won the national championship.
During his decade-long tenure at UMass Robic has been instrumental in helping the Minutemen rise from the lower echelon of the Atlantic 10 Conference to a team that has competed in nine straight postseason tournaments. Included are two NITís and seven straight NCAA Tournaments, including the 1996 Final Four.
The Minutemen also dominated the A-10, winning five-straight regular season and tournament titles from 1992-96.
During Robicís tenure at UMass the Minutemen have become one of only seven programs in Division I to reach the 200-win mark during the 1990s, joining national powers Arkansas, Arizona, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina.
Q & A with John Robic
Whatís your pre-game ritual?
Generally, I donít have one. I donít leave the office the day of a game. I do have three sticks of Wrigleyís Gum before every game.
Whatís your favorite pre-game meal?
I donít normally eat before a game, lunch thatís it. Itís always a chicken sandwich.
Whatís your favorite A-10 city?
Pittsburgh, thatís where I am from.
Whatís your favorite A-10 arena?
Cincinnati Gardens because of the atmosphere.
Whatís your most memorable UMass moment?
Beating Georgetown to advance to the Final Four in 1995.
What coach has been your biggest basketball influence?
Larry Brown, Bob Hill and John Calipari.
The common thread is they were all at Kansas at the same time when I started out in college basketball. Bob Hill got me a job to work with Larry Brown who helped me get a job with John Calipari.
What player do you think best represents college basketball?
Danny Manning, because he stayed in school for all four years.
Whatís your favorite hobby outside of basketball?
Spending time with my family.
Who's your favorite actor and actress?
Harrison Ford and Demi Moore.
Whatís your favorite sports movie?
Eight Men Out.
Where's your favorite place to vacation?
Hilton Head, South Carolina.
Who's your favorite broadcaster?
Ron Franklin and Bill Raftery.
Whatís your favorite food?