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Craig Malcolm Robinson (born April 21, 1962) is the head men's basketball coach at Oregon State Universitymarker and was previously head coach at Brown Universitymarker. As a player, he was a star forward at Princeton Universitymarker in the early 1980s. He was a successful bond trader during the 1990s.


He is the older brother of First Lady Michelle Obama, and consequently, the brother-in-law of President Barack Obama.

Early years

See also: Robinson family tree
Craig Robinson was born on April 21, 1962, in Chicago, Illinoismarker to Fraser Robinson, a city water plant employee and Democratic precinct captain, and Marian Robinson (née Shields), a secretary at Spiegel's catalog store. He grew up in the South Shoremarker community area of Chicago, with his sister Michelle, 21 months younger than he. He learned to read by the age of four at home, and skipped the second grade in school. He attended the parochial Mount Carmel High Schoolmarker, graduating in 1979.

When he was considering what college to go to, his father insisted that he attend Princeton Universitymarker for its superior academic reputation, rather than either the University of Washingtonmarker or Purdue Universitymarker, which offered scholarships and major conference play.

Playing career

Robinson, who stands 6' 6" and played at forward, was a two-time Ivy League Player of the Year at Princeton Universitymarker, in 1981–1982 and 1982–1983, leading the league in field goal percentage both years. He is the fourth highest scorer in school history. He graduated in 1983 with a B.A. in Sociology. Robinson and former teammate John W. Rogers, Jr. were among those invited to practice with Michael Jordan as he prepared for his comeback.

Robinson was drafted in the fourth round of the 1983 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, but never played in the league. He played professionally for the Manchester Giants in the British Basketball League for two seasons, and returned to the U.S. in 1988 to become an assistant coach at the Illinois Institute of Technologymarker, a position he held until 1990.

Business career, marriage and family

Robinson at 2009 Obama Home State Inauguration Ball
He left basketball, partly on the advice of his Princeton coach Pete Carril. He earned an M.B.A. in Finance from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business in 1992. He got to know sister Michelle's then-boyfriend Barack Obama by playing in pick-up basketball games with him, and gave an encouraging report to her when she was deciding whether to marry Obama.

Robinson worked in the 1990s as a bond trader. He became a vice president at Continental Bank and worked there from 1990 to 1992. He was then a vice president, from 1992 to 1999, at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter. Later he was a managing director and partner at Loop Capital Markets, a minority-owned boutique investment banking firm.

He kept a hand in basketball, by doing area scouting for Princeton and coaching one year at University of Chicago High Schoolmarker. He earned a high six-figure income in his business career, but eventually decided the financial world had lost its appeal, and found his luxury lifestyle was not enough to save his marriage. By 2000, Robinson was going through a divorce. Robinson has two children, a son Avery (born 1992) and daughter Leslie (born 1996), from his first marriage. Robinson remarried in June 2006, to his wife Kelly.

Coaching career

Robinson returned to coaching in 1999, making one-tenth his former salary. He was an assistant for six years to Bill Carmody at Northwestern Universitymarker, where he was an effective recruiter. He then became a head coach at Brown Universitymarker in 2006, where he ran a variation of the Princeton offense which he learned from Pete Carril during his years at Princeton. In improving a mid-level basketball program, he stressed work ethic, used tough love, and tried to improve the players' vocabulary. A fifth-place placing with a strong finish to the season garnered Robinson the Ivy League men's basketball Coach of the Year for the 2006-2007 season by Basketball-U.com. The following year, the Brown Bears finished second in the league, and their 19 wins for the season was a team record.

He assisted his brother-in-law throughout the latter's 2008 presidential campaign, including campaigning for him during the Iowa caucuses and campaigning and giving speeches for him in a number of other states, sometimes combining campaigning with recruiting visits. He introduced his sister Michelle before her speech on August 25, 2008, the first night of the 2008 Democratic National Convention, which gave him his largest national exposure. He was also on stage following Obama's victory speech in Grant Parkmarker after his election as president on November 4, 2008.

On April 7, 2008, Robinson was hired as the Oregon State Beavers' head basketball coach, after three other top coaches turned it down following the team's winless Pacific-10 Conference record and overall 6–25 mark the year before. (Jesse Agel, Robinson's assistant of two years, took over Robinson's former position at Brown). Robinson acknowledged that his political connections might enhance Oregon State's recruiting efforts.

Oregon State got off to a fairly good start in Robinson's first year, starting with a 6–6 record; a January 2009 conference win over USC broke a nearly two-year Pac-10 losing streak and earned Robinson a congratulatory call from then-President-elect Obama. Since that first win, Robinson's team won another six Pac-10 games, exceeding expectations for his first year on the job given that his personnel was essentially unchanged from the team's prior year. One key was that the offensive system he installed raised the team's collective field goal percentage almost 10 points. Some commentators felt he was deserving of consideration for the Pac-10 Coach of the Year award, and by late February Robinson had hopes of the team getting a bid from one of the postseason tournaments. The team was indeed accepted into the College Basketball Invitational, where it went on to post a 5–1 record and captured its first post-season tournament championship ever with a final series victory over the UTEP Miners. Of the win, Robinson said, "I can't tell you how proud I am of these guys. ... This is a great story for anybody." The Beavers finished with an 18–18 record for the season, and had what Rivals.com deemed a top 25 recruiting class as well.

In July 2009, President Obama alluded to the possibility of Robinson coaching elsewhere, by saying: "Craig Robinson is an outstanding coach. ... Anybody in Oregon and anybody who knows sports knows he turned it around. He loves Corvallis and I'm sure that as a young, successful coach he's going to start getting offers."

Head coaching record

References

External links




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