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Les Robinson

Sport Basketball
Career highlights
Overall 291-330 (.469)
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
The Citadel
East Tennessee State
NC State

Les Robinson is a former American basketball coach and former athletic director of The Citadel.

Robinson graduated in 1965 with a bachelor's of science degree in parks and recreation and physical education from North Carolina State University. He then became an assistant coach at N.C. State for one year. From there, he was the head basketball coach and athletic director at Cedar Key High School in Florida for two years. In 1968 he returned to graduate school, serving as an assistant coach at Western Carolina University where he also received a master's degree in physical education and guidance counseling.

After one year at Western Carolina, Robinson moved to The Citadel as an assistant coach. He served in that role for five years before taking over the program in 1974 - 1975. He coached at The Citadel for 11 seasons. Although he only managed a .500-or-better record five times, his 132 wins are the most in school history. He was twice named South Carolina Coach of the Year and was a two-time Southern Conference Coach of the Year.

In 1985 Robinson became East Tennessee State University's men's head basketball coach and athletic director. Under his guidance, ETSU won the 1989 and 1990 Southern Conference championships, playing in NCAA Tournament both years. In 1990 Robinson was named Southern Conference Coach of the Year and Tennessee Coach of the Year.

In 1989, Robinson served as an assistant coach for the U.S. World Championship qualifying team in Mexico City, Mexico. He also coached the South team to a Bronze medal in the 1993 Olympic Festival in San Antonio, Texas.

North Carolina State University hired Robinson in 1990 to replace Jim Valvano as head coach. He was the 1991 District Coach of the Year as selected by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) after leading NC State to a 20-11 record in the first season. Robinson was the only first-year coach (other than Bill Guthridge at UNC) in the Atlantic Coast Conference history to win 20 games, post a winning regular season conference record, and win games in both the ACC and NCAA Tournaments.

However, the Wolfpack lost scholarships as a result of NCAA sanctions, and the team plummeted into the ACC's second division for the next five years. The low point of Robinson's tenure at his alma mater came during the 1992-93 season. Due to injuries and academic-related suspensions, Robinson was only able to dress seven players for most of conference play.

In 1992, the ACC Tournament was expanded because of the addition of Florida State. A play-in game between the eighth and ninth place teams was created, and during his five years as the N.C. State coach after its addition, Robinson's Wolfpack played in the play-in game four out of five times (finishing seventh in 1992 and avoiding the game). Because of his team's traditional appearance in the Thursday night game, the game was referred to as the "Les Robinson Invitational" by ACC fans. The play-in game was discontinued when the ACC expanded to include Miami and Virginia Tech, and required three Thursday games. There are now four games in the first round of the ACC Tournament, with the addition of Boston College to the league.

Robinson was appointed as N.C. State's athletic director in 1996 and stepped down as head coach. He left to become The Citadel's athletic director in 2000. On January 25, 2008, he announced he would retire at the end of the school year, effective June 30th.

Head coaching record

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
The Citadel (Southern Conference) (1974–1985)
1974–1975 The Citadel 5-15
1975–1976 The Citadel 10-17
1976–1977 The Citadel 8-19
1977–1978 The Citadel 8-19
1978–1979 The Citadel 20-7
1979–1980 The Citadel 14-13
1980–1981 The Citadel 9-17
1981–1982 The Citadel 14-14
1982–1983 The Citadel 12-16
1983–1984 The Citadel 14-14
1984–1985 The Citadel 18-11
The Citadel: 132-162
East Tennessee State (Atlantic Sun Conference) (1985–1990)
1985–1986 East Tennessee State 13-16
1986–1987 East Tennessee State 7-21
1987–1988 East Tennessee State 14-15
1988–1989 East Tennessee State 20-11
1989–1990 East Tennessee State 27-7
East Tennesee State: 81-70
North Carolina State (Atlantic Coast Conference) (1990–1996)
1990–1991 NC State 20-11 8-6
1991–1992 NC State 12-18
1992–1993 NC State 8-19
1993–1994 NC State 11-19
1994–1995 NC State 12-15
1995–1996 NC State 15-16
NC State: 78-98
Total: 291-330

      National Champion         Conference Regular Season Champion         Conference Tournament Champion
      Conference Regular Season & Conference Tournament Champion       Conference Division Champion




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