By Jim • 

Sports fan: Time for OSU to send Robinson packing

After all, he had been at the Beaver helm for five years, only one of them a winning season, that coming in the previous campaign when OSU compiled a 21-15 record, thanks in large part to an easy preseason schedule. In 2012-13, the Beavers were 14-18 and dead last in conference play with a miserable 4-14 mark.

But athletic director Bob De Carolis and president Edward Ray honored his contract, which runs through 2017, and after another mediocre season of 16 wins and 14 losses and an 8-10 Pac-12 record, it appears that the men's program has reached a dead end. This time, many are calling for his termination.

The final punctuation mark, to many, was a 96-92 loss to small Division I Big South Conference representative Radford in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) on March 19, with only 1,351 spectators on hand at Gill Coliseum to watch the Beavers fall to a "small school" program.

Since Robinson came to Corvallis in 2008-09 season, the program has shown little, if any, improvement in his six years of leading the Beavers. His overall record of 123-130 and conference record of 39-69 (that's a .362 win percentage) attest to the mediocrity that has followed his hiring.

In most schools, in fact, unless winning was on the back burner, Robinson would have been fired after his third season when his team was 10-19 with a 5-13 league mark. But for some reason — the mighty patience of Beaver fans, low expectations or a philosophy that "if he builds character in his players, they will succeed"... whatever — athletic director De Carolis and president Ray and, apparently, the Beaver Basketball Nation, haven't see fit to send Robinson packing.

Even the decreasing attendance at games should have caught the attention of the OSU administration: without fans attending games on a regular basis, there's no vocal support, no orange-and-black-dressed fans cheering the Beavers on to victory, only empty seats.

And there's no money in the coffers from game revenues, which help support the program.

Sure, Robinson's first club, the 2008-09 edition, managed to win the CBI, which is basically a tournament for the also-rans in conferences around the nation. In Robinson's six years, his teams failed to be invited to even one National Invitational Tournament (NIT) because of either losing or barely above .500 records.

The NCAA tournament? Not even close — although the rival Ducks, under Dana Altman, have excelled in the past few seasons and once again this year, qualified for the NCAA regional tournament. Several sports writers have even projected the Ducks working their way to the final four while the Beavers will be watching the NCAA playoffs on television, wondering if they — or their coach — could have done a little more to change the losing culture and tendency to fold in the end of games, when the going got tough.

With such mediocre results in Robinson's six years, fans really have to dig down deep to determine why the players he recruits seem to be satisfied with such mediocrity. Yes, they might really like and respect their coach, but he hasn't taken them anywhere near a real winning mark in a half dozen campaigns, and most players want an opportunity to win, not just gather playing time on a so-so team that happens to play in a tough conference.

Yes, the hammer just might fall in the next few days or weeks, but stalling by De Carolis and the powers-to-be at OSU won't help the program right itself. Take the bull by the horns, Bob and Ed, and end the Robinson era. Find a young coach on the way up who has knowledge, enthusiasm, communication skills and an uncommon desire to succeed. With a little improvement in recruiting and a solid staff on hand, OSU might just develop a men's program (hey, the women's program is in great hands with Scott Rueck) worth supporting again.

I remember the days of Mel Counts, Jim Jarvis, Steve Pauly and company in the 1960s who filled Gill Coliseum, and in those days, as well as the many seasons under Ralph Miller, when basketball was a major draw on the OSU campus.

It's time to clean the slate and to shoot for men's basketball success once again in Corvallis.

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