LANCASTER — Franklin & Marshall men’s basketball coach Glenn Robinson, the winningest coach in NCAA Division III history, announced his retirement Tuesday on the school’s website.
Robinson, 74, will take on other administrative duties within the athletic department and assist with basketball operations for the remainder of the academic year, F&M said in the announcement.
Nick Nichay, who has served on Robinson’s staff for the last seven seasons, was named interim coach for the upcoming season. Nichay served as head coach for the Diplomats at the start of last season, when Robinson was on medical leave.
“I am retiring because I believe it is the right time,” said Robinson. “This decision has absolutely nothing to do with health. It has to do with the demands of coaching. Coaching demands energy, alertness, attention to detail, and unlimited enthusiasm, and I feel Coach Nichay is better able to demonstrate those attributes with our team.
“Part of what made this decision easier is that I know the program is in excellent hands with Coach Nichay,” Robinson continued. “He has been with our program for seven seasons and has done a tremendous job leading our recruiting efforts and has taken on more of the day-to-day running of the program in the last few seasons.”
In his 48 seasons at F&M, Robinson led the Diplomats to 967 victories — which ranks third all-time among all NCAA divisions in college basketball — and 25 appearances in the NCAA Division III tournament.
Under his guidance, F&M won 44 tournament games, made 17 appearances in the Sweet 16, reached the Elite Eight 10 times, and made the Final Four five times.
Robinson was voted the Basketball Times NCAA Division III Coach of the Year in 1991 and the D3Hoops.com Coach of the Year in 2009. He also earned NABC and conference Coach of the Year honors 12 times.
“Glenn is a legendary coach and a good friend,” said F&M Director of Athletics & Recreation Patricia S.W. Epps. “He has been a tremendous mentor to countless student-athletes and colleagues and set a standard of excellence that will be difficult to match.”
During his tenure at F&M, Robinson coached 26 All-America players, 93 All-Conference selections, 17 conference Players of the Year, and five Academic All-Americans. All but three of Robinson’s varsity letterman earned degrees, the school said. Robinson also guided 35 players who reached the 1,000-point career milestone.
Robinson’s career at F&M began in 1968, when he joined the staff of Hall of Fame athletic trainer Chuck Taylor. He took over as head coach of the Diplomats in 1971, when Taylor resigned to focus on his training duties.
F&M went 7-14 in Robinson’s first season, and 11-13 a year later. It was the seventh and eighth consecutive losing seasons for the Diplomats.
Robinson’s first winning campaign came in 1974, when F&M went 13-11. That was the Diplomats’ first winning season since 1959.
In 1976, Robinson guided F&M to a 17-8 mark, which was a school record for most victories in a season at the time. He broke it again a year later when he guided the Diplomats to 22 victories, followed by a 27-win campaign in 1979 and a 28-win season in 1991.
F&M had 26 seasons with at least 20 victories under Robinson.
“I have been truly blessed to be able to represent such a wonderful institution, deal with such a caring group of administrators and coach such a fantastic group of young men,” Robinson said. “Fifty-two years have flown by, and I am sure there is nothing else that could have provided me with such pride and pleasure.”
F&M’s best decade under Robinson came from 1985-1996, when F&M won at least 22 games every season, won eight conference titles, made nine NCAA Division III tournament appearances, reached two Final Fours, and finished as the national runner-up in 1991.
Robinson became the all-time wins leader in Division III history by recording his 667th victory on Feb. 14, 2004. He is one of only four coaches in NCAA history to amass 900 wins. In 2008-09, he became only the second Division III coach to reach 1,000 games coached.
“I am no longer coaching, but I am not retired,” said Robinson. “My ‘work’ was always what I wanted to do, so I intend to stay involved; however, I can help but with more time to see our three grandchildren continue to mature. I also hope to visit with former players, many making their living in basketball, to see firsthand how they are doing.”
Robinson grew up in Yeadon, Pa., and played high school basketball at nearby Lansdowne-Aldan High before attending West Chester. At WCU, he was a standout collegiate baseball and basketball player before graduating in 1967 and earning a master’s degree a year later. He was inducted into the University’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004.