By Chuckie Maggio
The college basketball coaching carousel made its way to Olean this summer when assistant coach Jeff Massey left to take the same position at Toledo and Jerome Robinson was hired to fill the vacancy.
Robinson joins the Bonnies staff after two seasons at Eastern Michigan University. In his first season he served as Lifeskills Coordinator, and then became Player Development and Video Coordinator last season. EMU saw moderate success in his two years on the staff, making the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT) in March after a 22-15 season.
In the second week of June, Robinson was first contacted by coach Mark Schmidt about the assistant coach opening after Schmidt had gotten Robinson’s name from several reputable people in the business. The first conversation lasted 20 minutes, and the two spoke a number of times after that initial call.
Robinson was then invited down to Bonaventure for an interview with Schmidt and Athletic Director Steve Watson.
“I left St. Bonaventure feeling real good,” Robinson said. “When I got the call from coach Schmidt (that I got the job), I was ecstatic. Words can’t describe the joy that I was feeling.”
He had a positive first impression of Schmidt, with nothing but good things to say about his new boss.
“Coach has a lot of character. (He’s a) very funny guy, very personable and approachable. He knows his basketball, which is great for me to be under the tutelage of someone who’s that knowledgeable,” said Robinson. “His staff members have long tenures under him. I believe that speaks volumes about who he is and what he’s about.”
As far as concerns about building relationships with the players after their strong emotions about the departure of Massey, Robinson said he doesn’t really have any.
“Whatever feelings they have for coach Massey, they will always have,” he said. “I could never replace the emotional connection our players have for their coach. All I can do is be me and develop new relationships with them.”