BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — “If it is to be, it is up to me” is a saying the students and athletes of Maumee’s former coach Jim Robinson know well – and a motto they still follow.
When several of those former student-athletes decided to create a physical reminder of Robinson’s lasting legacy, they knew it was up to them to make it happen. In May, the Maumee City Schools Board of Education approved the idea and the district moved forward with naming the basketball court Jim Robinson Sr. Court.
Former Maumee basketball player Nick Porter connected with several other players of Robinson’s, including Brian Chapman, Josh Culling and Bryan Borcherdt, who were all present on Friday, July 29 to see the physical reminder of Robinson’s dedication to Maumee.
“To be back at this gym where I have so many memories, to honor a man who was such a huge influence in my life and the life of countless others, it’s hard to put into words but it is an experience I will never forget,” Porter said.
Also present at the first look was Robinson, his wife Carol, former teacher and friend Terri Mortemore and Maumee City Schools’ new interim assistant superintendent, Matt Dick.
On Friday morning, the small group gathered in the lobby of Maumee High School and reminisced about their days at school – talking about their favorite teachers, the old layout of the building and their favorite memories. As they moved down the hallway and into the gymnasium, the conversation shifted.
The group was able to discuss old plays, major accomplishments, rivals and even signs on the wall – including one with the phrase, “If it is to be, it is up to me.”
“When we had to make foul shots at the end of the game on this basket, they were looking at this sign. ‘If it is to be, it is up to me,’” Jim said. “I still live by that.”
In each approach he took, whether motivating with signs, offering critiques, keeping track of every practice in a yellow legal pad or giving a locker-room talk, Jim did his best to make his young charges better players and better people.
The naming of the court is a reminder to his wife Carol about all that time spent helping the students and athletes of Maumee and how it was worth every booked-up Friday night, in her opinion.
“I missed it when he retired. It was kind of something we did together – he obviously spent much more time than I did,” Carol said. “It was fun, and I enjoyed it.”
The dedication provided Jim and Carol the chance to remind themselves of each kid they witnessed grow up over the years, and Carol said the letters former students wrote to the board of education lobbying to rename the court were her favorite part – to be reminded of how impactful her husband was on young students who needed someone to guide them and believe in them and to remember the impact those same students had on their coach.
“It’s the most meaningful thing in my life after my wife and kids,” Jim said. “I’m grateful for all the people that I met here in Maumee during that time.”
Those people are also grateful for him, as seen by the overwhelming number of former students and athletes who wrote the board, encouraging the court dedication.
“He still remembers every play of every game and makes us feel special as players and is a second father to a lot of us,” Culling said. “It’s really important to all of us to honor him in this way.”
Former players, students and community members will also have the chance to thank Jim during the official court dedication on December 9 between the junior varsity and varsity boys basketball games between Maumee and Anthony Wayne.
An additional reminder of his lasting impact is the introduction of the Jim Robinson Sr. Scholarship.
“It will be awarded annually to one male and one female student-athlete in their senior year at Maumee High School who best exemplify sportsmanship, leadership, community service, academic excellence and athletic ability,” Porter said.
More information regarding the scholarship can be found at RobinsonScholarship.com.
“The impact he had on us is immeasurable, and his legacy lives on through his lessons and values that we pass on to our children,” Porter said. “Coach Robinson is Maumee basketball and I feel truly lucky to have been a part of ensuring that the two will be forever linked.”