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Greg Robinson (American football coach)

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Title: Greg Robinson (American football coach)  
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Subject: 2014 San Jose State Spartans football team, Pete Carroll, Mike Shanahan, 2015 San Jose State Spartans football team, Gunther Cunningham
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Greg Robinson (American football coach)

Greg Robinson
Robinson after San Jose State's 2014 Spring Game.
Sport(s) Football
Current position
Title Defensive coordinator
Team San Jose State
Conference MWC
Biographical details
Born (1951-10-09) October 9, 1951
Los Angeles, California
Playing career
1970–1971 Bakersfield
1972–1974 Pacific
Position(s) Linebacker, Center (American football), tight end
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1975–1976 Pacific (Assistant)
1977–1979 Cal State Fullerton (assistant)
1980–1981 NC State (LB)
1982–1988 UCLA (DL)
1989 UCLA (OC)
1990–1993 New York Jets (DL)
1994 New York Jets (DC)
1995-2000 Denver Broncos (DC)
2001–2003 Kansas City Chiefs (DC)
2004 Texas (Co-DC)
2005–2008 Syracuse
2009–2010 Michigan (DC/LB)
2012 Saint Francis HS (CA) (Assistant)
2013 Texas (DC)
2014–present San Jose State (DC/LB)
Head coaching record
Overall 5–37
College Football Data Warehouse

Gregory McIntosh "Greg" Robinson (born October 9, 1951) is an American football coach and former player. He is currently the defensive coordinator at San Jose State University, having assumed that role in February 2014. Robinson served as the head football coach at Syracuse University from 2005 to 2008. He has served as an assistant coach with several other college football programs and for three teams in the National Football League (NFL): the New York Jets from 1990 to 1994, the Denver Broncos from 1995 to 2000, and the Kansas City Chiefs from 2001 to 2003. With the Broncos, Robinson was a member of two Super Bowl championship teams. In more recent years he has served as the defensive coordinator at the University of Texas at Austin, in 2004 and for part of the 2013 season, and at the University of Michigan, from 2009 to 2010.

Robinson was hired as head coach of the Syracuse Orange football program in January 2005 after the firing of head coach Paul Pasqualoni, who had been Syracuse's head coach since 1991. On November 17, 2008, with the Orange reeling from their fourth straight losing season under Robinson and their only double-digit losing seasons in program history, it was announced that Robinson would be fired from his coaching duties at the end of the season.[1] He finished his tenure with a 5–37 record overall, the worst record in the history of the program, and a 2–25 record in Big East Conference play.

Early in the 2013 season after the Texas Longhorns suffered a 40–21 upset loss to BYU, allowing a record rushing yardage total, defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was replaced by Robinson. Robinson had been serving as a video analyst for Texas at the time of his hiring.


  • Early years 1
  • NFL 2
  • Syracuse 3
  • Michigan 4
  • Texas 5
  • San Jose State 6
  • Head coaching record 7
  • Notes 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Early years

Robinson graduated from Garces Memorial High School in Bakersfield, California; then attended and played at Bakersfield College, a junior college, before transferring to the University of Pacific.

During his collegiate coaching career, Robinson was an assistant coach at North Carolina State University, Cal State Fullerton, UCLA and his alma mater, the University of the Pacific, in addition to his roles at both the University of Texas and Syracuse University.


Robinson's tenure as defensive coordinator with the Denver Broncos occurred during their Super Bowl (XXXII & XXXIII) seasons in 1997 and 1998. Robinson's Bronco defense played superbly during the 1998 playoff run. The Broncos defense held the Miami Dolphins scoreless in the divisional playoffs, allowed only a touchdown as a result of a fumble on the one yard line against the New York Jets in the AFC Championship Game, and then allowed a single touchdown to the Atlanta Falcons in the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl after the outcome was secure.


Robinson installed a new West Coast offense scheme, replacing the option run style of offense previously run by Pasqualoni, as well as new defensive schemes. Robinson had a 5–37 overall record, and a 2–25 record in the Big East, which is the lowest winning percentage in a four-year span for the program. Two out of those four years, Robinson led the team into double-digit losing seasons, the only double-digit losing seasons in program history. By contrast, Pasqualoni only had one losing season in his entire career at Syracuse and only two in his head coaching career (a 2-7 season at Western Connecticut his rookie year).

In his final press conference as Syracuse coach, after the Orange had concluded a fourth straight losing campaign (3-9), Robinson likened his relentless positivity to the famous children's story The Little Engine That Could, even pausing to read a description of the story directly from its WorldHeritage page.[2] Robinson, in the words of one reporter "defiant as always and perhaps in a bit of denial", told the assembled press that in spite of his shortcomings at Syracuse, "I still think I can."[3]

Early in the 2008 campaign, the decline of Syracuse football was the subject of an ESPN College Gameday piece in which Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross and Syracuse greats Floyd Little and Jim Brown registered their disgust with Robinson.[4] Robinson was fired November 17, 2008, two games before the end of the season. He had one year left on a contract that paid him $1.1 million per season.[5] In 2012, Athlon Sports named Robinson as the sixth worst college football head coach of the last 50 years.[6]


Robinson was hired by Michigan on January 20, 2009 as their defensive coordinator, replacing Scott Shafer.[7] (Coincidentally, Shafer would be hired as Syracuse's defensive coordinator before the 2009 season, and would later succeed Doug Marrone as head coach when Marrone departed before the 2013 season for the NFL to coach the Buffalo Bills.) In 2009, Michigan ranked 82nd of 120 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision and 9th of 11 teams in the Big Ten Conference in total defense. In 2010, the Wolverines ranked 110th of 120 teams in FBS and 11th of 11 teams in the Big Ten in total defense. Robinson was fired with head coach Rich Rodriguez and the majority of his staff on January 5, 2011.

Robinson served as an assistant coach at Saint Francis High School (La Cañada Flintridge) in 2012. Saint Francis is coached by Jim Bonds who was a quarterback at UCLA when Robinson was an assistant coach.


Robinson was hired by Texas on July 17, 2013 as a football analyst to "handle quality control evaluation for the team, provide team video review, oversee the Longhorns self-scouting and provide assistance in opponent scouting."[8] Less than two months later, the Longhorns' defense allowed Brigham Young University to rush for a record-setting 550 yards in the second game of the 2013 season. The following day, Texas head coach Mack Brown described the defensive performance as "unacceptable" and removed Manny Diaz from the position of defensive coordinator.[9] Robinson was promoted to take his place.

As defensive coordinator, Robinson was able to turn one of the worst defenses in the Big 12 to one of the best in a shockingly short amount of time, especially considering his 2-year absence from coaching preceded by high-profile failures at Syracuse and Michigan.[10] By the end of the season, Texas led the conference in sacks.[11] The turnaround was clearly evident in the 2013 Alamo Bowl, in which Texas took on the Oregon Ducks and their elite offense. Oregon's offense was #2 in the country and averaged over 45 points scored per game. Robinson's Texas defense held the Oregon offense to one touchdown and 3 field goals for a total of 16 points. No defense gave up fewer points to Oregon in 2013. However, poor offensive play by the Longhorns only yielded one touchdown and allowed Oregon's defense to score two additional touchdowns by returning intercepted passes. Oregon went on to win the game 30-7 despite the excellent performance by Robinson's defensive unit.

Following the end of the 2013 season and the departure of head coach Mack Brown, new head coach Charlie Strong announced that Vance Bedford (Strong's defensive coordinator from his previous job at the University of Louisville and a former star player on the Texas defense) would take over as the defensive coordinator at Texas. Robinson was not announced as part of the new staff, and as of January 2014 he was actively seeking a coaching position elsewhere.

San Jose State

Veteran assistant coach Greg Robinson will become the new San Jose State defensive coordinator, according to

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Syracuse Orange (Big East Conference) (2005–2008)
2005 Syracuse 0–10[Note A] 0–7 8th
2006 Syracuse 0–8[Note A] 0–6[Note A] T–7th
2007 Syracuse 2–10 1–6 8th
2008 Syracuse 3–9 1–6 T–7th
Syracuse: 5–37 2–25
Total: 5–37


^A. Due to NCAA sanctions, Syracuse had all wins from the 2005 and 2006 seasons vacated, one from 2005 and four from 2006.[12][13] Originally, Syracuse was 1–10 (0–8 Big East) in 2005 and 4–8 (1–7 Big East) in 2006.


  1. ^ With football program at lowest point, Syracuse fires Robinson,, November 17, 2008, Accessed November 17, 2008.
  2. ^ "Storytime with Greg Robinson". Retrieved 2010-12-09. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "College Gameday, September 20, 2008". ESPN. 
  5. ^ "Topic Galleries". Chicago Tribune. 
  6. ^ Lassan, Steve. "20 Worst College Football Tenures of the Last 50 Years". Athlon Sports. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Robinson named football analyst". 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Texas Longhorns defense makes 180-degree turn, now one of the Big 12's best since hiring of Greg Robinson". 
  11. ^
  12. ^ Mink, Nate. "NCAA report: Syracuse football placed on 5-year probation, self-vacates 11 wins". Syracuse Post-Standard. Retrieved March 7, 2015. 
  13. ^ Syracuse football media guide 2015, p. 142.

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Pete Carroll
New York Jets Defensive Coordinator
Succeeded by
Jim Vechiarella
Preceded by
Charlie Waters
Denver Broncos Defensive Coordinator
Succeeded by
Ray Rhodes
Preceded by
Kurt Schottenheimer
Kansas City Chiefs Defensive Coordinator
Succeeded by
Gunther Cunningham
Preceded by
Carl Reese
Texas Defensive Coordinator
2004 (alongside Duane Akina)
Succeeded by
Gene Chizik
Preceded by
Scott Shafer
Michigan Defensive Coordinator
Succeeded by
Greg Mattison
Preceded by
Manny Diaz
Texas Defensive Coordinator
Succeeded by
Vance Bedford
Preceded by
Kenwick Thompson
San Jose State Defensive Coordinator
Succeeded by
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