Since taking over in July of 2006, Kevin Robinson has transformed the Memphis track and field/cross country program into a perennial Conference USA contender and national power. In all, Robinson has seen his student-athletes set more than 40 school records, earn 51 C-USA individual titles and pile up more than 258 All-Conference USA performances in his seven years at the helm.
Under Robinson's tutelage, the men's program has shown tremendous consistency. The Tigers have posted top-five indoor finishes five years and top-five outdoor performances four times. Robinson's 2007 outdoor squad -- his first season as head coach -- won the C-USA Championships crown, the first in the program's history.
On the women's side, Robinson has guided the Lady Tigers to four top-five finishes at the C-USA Indoor Championships. One of those top-five performances was a third-place showing at the 2008 indoors, the highest finish in program history.
The 2011-12 campaign was another successful one for Robinson's program. He had 14 NCAA Outdoor East Regional qualifiers for a second-consecutive season, matching the program record set the year before.
Just as impressive last season was the program's accomplishments in the classroom. Both the men's and women's squads received United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic Teams honors, with four student-athletes -- Monica Mason, Laura Toldy, Cyarra Wells, Tom Willcox -- receiving USTFCCCA individual recognition.
The women's squad tallied a cumulative 3.28 grade-point average, which tied for 23rd among the 171 programs that received USTFCCCA All-Academic Team status. The men's team recorded a cumulative 3.14 GPA, which tied for 25th among the 85 schools to make the USTFCCCA list.
Robinson's cross country squads saw similar success in the classroom, receiving 2011 USTFCCCA All-Academic Team honors. The women's and men's teams posted 3.34 and 3.59 GPA, respectively. Of the 147 men's programs to achieve USTFCCCA All-Academic status, the Tigers ranked third.
Robinson returned to his alma mater in 2002 as an assistant and was promoted to head coach in the summer of 2006. In his 10-year coaching association with the program, Robinson has had nine student-athletes compete in 22 NCAA Championships events and has seen his competitors earn 14 All-America citations, with the most recent being Georgio Lynwood (2012) and Richard Lowe (2011).
Last season, Lynwood took gold and All-Conference USA first team honors at the C-USA Indoor Championships with a leap of 2.17m (7-01.50) in the high jump. Lynwood continued to excel during the outdoor campaign, qualifying for the NCAA East Preliminary where he set a new school-record of 2.19m (7-02.25).Advancing to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, the Jackson, Tenn., native took All-America second team honors with a 13th-place finish at a height of 2.15m (07-00.50).
In 2011, Lowe was named Conference USA's Male Track Athlete of the Year and finished his collegiate career at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, where he finished seventh in a time of 50.99s in the 400m hurdles. Lowe became Robinson's 13th All-American.
Prior to Lynwood and Lowe, Robinson coached quite possibly the program's four top field competitors in Seffen Nerdal, Susan King, Gaute Myklebust and Gail Lee
Nerdal, who was a teammate of Lowe's, capped his stellar collegiate career with his fourth All-America honor at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Nerdal was the NCAA runner-up in the weight throw for a second-straight year (2009, 2010), marking the first time a Tiger student-athlete finished that high in consecutive NCAA Championships appearances.
Earlier that 2010 campaign, Robinson had 16 student-athletes win a total of 27 medals at the C-USA Indoor and Outdoor Championships. Lowe led the Tigers' medal count with four, while Nerdal and Alex Sweet each garnered three.
The previous year (2009), Nerdal made Memphis track and field history, becoming the program's first male indoor All-American. Nerdal, who was the first male athlete to advance to the NCAA Indoors in 25 years, finished second in the weight throw.
In 2008, Robinson coached student-athletes on both the men's and women's teams to All-America distinction. Nerdal claimed his first All-America honor with a fourth-place finish in the hammer throw at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
On the women's side, King earned All-America accolades in the shot put at both the 2008 NCAA Indoor (fourth) and Outdoor (second) Championships. The second-place finish was the highest for a Lady Tiger at the NCAA Outdoors. Charlotte Abrahamsen also represented Memphis at the 2008 NCAA Indoor Championships, competing in the pentathlon. Abrahamsen earned All-America recognition and is the school's first and only multi-sport competitor at the NCAA Indoors.
Following the 2008 campaign, King and Lee represented the Blue and Gray in the shot put at the United States Olympic Trials. Both King (sixth) and Lee (ninth) placed in the top-10 and just missed earning a spot on the U.S. squad.
In only his first season at the helm (2006-07), Robinson guided the men's team to the program's first Conference USA Outdoor Championships crown. The Tigers upset national track and field powerhouse UTEP to win the C-USA title, finishing just a mere 9.5 points ahead of the Miners.
For his efforts, Robinson was named the 2007 Conference USA Coach of the Year. At the C-USA Outdoors, Robinson had four Tigers win at least one individual title and saw nine competitors qualify for NCAA Regionals. Three of Robinson's student-athletes advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, with Nerdal making his first appearance as a freshman.At that year's NCAA Indoors, Lee earned her second All-America honor with a sixth-place performance in the shot put.
Before taking her over Memphis program, Robinson was producing All-Americans as a Tigers assistant. In 2004, Robinson guided Myklebust, a two-time C-USA Male Outdoor Athlete of the Year, to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, where he received All-America honors with a fourth-place finish in the discus. Myklebust was the program's first All-American in more than 20 years.
The following year (2004-05), Robinson helped Lee to the 2005 NCAA Championships. Lee became the school's first female All-American in nearly 30 years with a 10th-place finish in the shot put.
A 1998 Memphis graduate, Robinson finished his collegiate track and field career as one of the program's most-decorated competitors, exhibiting prowess in the shot put, weight and hammer throws. As a freshman, he claimed the 1994 Great Midwest Conference (GMC) Indoor Championships shot put crown. The following season (1995-96), Memphis moved to Conference USA, and Robinson shined in his C-USA Indoor Championships debut. He was named the C-USA Indoor Athlete of the Year after winning the weight throw title and finishing second in the shot put. In his sophomore and senior campaigns, Robinson won C-USA indoor weight and hammer throws titles.
Overall, Robinson owns six combined Conference USA weight and hammer throws titles and a Great Midwest Conference shot put title. Robinson also is part of an elite C-USA group of only eight male athletes that have won three or more conference outdoor titles in the same event (hammer throw, 1996-98).
Robinson qualified for the 1997 and 1998 NCAA Outdoor Championships in seven combined events. In 1998, he finished 13th in the shot put at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. That same year, Robinson was named the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Year and an NSCA All-American. In 2000, Robinson qualified for the Olympic Trials in the shot put and weightlifting.
When Robinson graduated in 1998, he held school records in the indoor and outdoor shot put, 35-pound weight throw and hammer throw. The only record he still holds today is the indoor shot put, a testament to both his coaching and athletic skill.
A native of Perryville, Mo., Robinson earned his degree in exercise and sport science from Memphis in 1998. After graduation, he began his coaching career as an assistant at Southern Illinois, where he worked from 1998-2002.
During his time in Carbondale, Ill., Robinson's student-athletes set three conference records and posted six school marks. Robinson also produced nine NCAA Regional qualifiers, two All-Americans and an Olympic Trials competitor.
In 2003, Robinson gained certification in CPR, AED and as an AFAA professional personal trainer. He has since become an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).
Robinson and his wife, Dawn, have three children: Sebastian, Tristan and Matthias. They reside in Hernando, Miss.