Oregon State fires Craig Robinson


Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon State fans are often divided amongst themselves about any number of issues. One issue that fans lined up on almost unanimously was the state of the men’s basketball program. In a word; unwatchable. Beaver Athletic Director Bob De Carolis announced that Craig Robinson would not be returning as head coach of the men’s basketball team.

Robinson’s tenure in historic Gill Coliseum began on April 7th, 2008, a year after the Beavers, then under the tutelage of Jay John, went 6-25, failing to win a single conference game. Righting a ship steered so sharply off course was a daunting task for Robinson, but his ambition and grand “plan” for rebuilding a program that once stood toe-to-toe with the legendary giants of college basketball excited and inspired a fan base searching for the smallest sliver of hope.

Most of Robinson’s critical career wins came in his first two seasons in Corvallis. In January of 2009, the Beavers beat USC, snapping what was nearly a two year losing streak in the Pac-10. The Beavers won seven conference games that year, on their way to the first inaugural College Basketball Invitational (CBI).

The 2009 Beavers went on to win the tournament, beating UTEP two games to one in a best of three championship series. Although winning the CBI has about the same amount of credibility as taking your date to a Sizzler, Beaver Nation was fervently recharged after hoisting its first post-season basketball trophy in program history.

Robinson’s name was tossed around in the conference coach of the year discussion and fans got a little nervous when rumors of his courtship by bigger schools with deeper pockets surfaced on message boards.

It’s hard to blame the program, especially considering how desperate Oregon State was for a winner at that time, but after a 5th place conference finish in 2010, the school inked Robinson to an extension that would have secured his place on the books until 2015-16.

The Beaver program then began to lose traction within the conference. Oregon State yo-yo’d between 9th and 12th in the Pac-10/Pac-12 for the rest of Robinson’s time as head coach, finishing with only one winning season (2010) in six years at the helm. Robinson’s career record at Oregon State finished at 93-104 (39-69).

The news comes as a bit of a surprise in Corvallis. An off-season meeting six weeks ago between Robinson and De Carolis produced a form-letter-like address to the fans promising and reassuring Beaver Nation that winning was of the utmost importance to the school and the coaching staff.

Perhaps it was rapid response from the unsatisfied masses that caused this 180-degree turn from within the program.

We the fans got what we wished for. Oregon State begins it’s search for a new head coach effective immediately.