BY JEREMY SCHNEIDER | MIRROR SPORTS — If there was ever any doubt what type of impact Jim Robinson Sr. had made on the Maumee community, Friday night left no doubt.
Maumee City Schools dedicated the basketball court at the high school to the former boys basketball and softball coach during a special ceremony at halftime of the boys varsity game.
A couple hundred former players and students showed up to support Robinson, who received a special plaque at midcourt while accompanied by his wife, Carol.
“At my next birthday, I’ll be 80, and I know what comes with the years after that, so to get back in here and see kids I coached in this gym is a wonderful thing,” Robinson said.
“There are wonderful people here. You saw that tonight. I loved them when I was here, I love them now and I’ll love them forever.”
The night started with a dinner that was organized by former player Nick Porter (Class of 2001). More than 160 individuals showed up for the dinner, which was hosted in the high school cafeteria.
From there, the guests went to the gymnasium, where they watched the Panthers battle the Generals, who are coached by Maumee graduate Joshua Arthur, who played for Robinson.
At one point in the second half, Robinson sat on the Maumee bench, getting a familiar view of the court. The current Maumee team treated the fans to a thrilling back-and-forth game with AW before eventually falling, 52-50.
“That was awesome to see him on the bench and everything that was done to support him,” current Maumee coach Ryan Osier said. “Just what a great night to honor the man. It’s an honor to be coaching here with that type of legacy in our history.”
Robinson was hired by the Maumee district in 1983 and coached boys basketball for 21 years. He was a teacher, coach and athletic director.
During his time as boys basketball coach, his teams won seven Northern Lakes League championships, five sectional titles and were district runners-up twice. Robinson was named NLL Coach of the Year seven times, and he was twice named Coach of the Year by The Blade and the Associated Press.
Robinson’s softball teams were named the “Team of the Decade” in the 1980s by The Blade. In 1986, they went 28-4 and won the district championship. They were regional runners-up the next year and sectional runners-up the year after that.
As the athletic director, Robinson helped introduce three new girls sports – gymnastics, golf and soccer – as well as two boys sports – hockey and soccer. He also helped with facility upgrades to the stadium and gymnasium.
“Nothing can mean more,” Robinson said of having his name on the Maumee court.
“I chose to be a basketball coach back in 1961, helping a man coach the Libbey Cowboys freshman team. We won the City League. He was the coach, I was just out of high school. The next year, he was the JV coach at Libbey and I coached with him again.”
Robinson’s first head coaching job was with the Ohio School for the Deaf, and his stops included schools in Cincinnati, Lima and Port Clinton.
Robinson is a member of multiple Halls of Fame after winning more than 20 Coach of the Year awards and coaching in 12 district All-Star games.