Longtime ASU Gymnastics Coach Don Robinson Dies
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Don Robinson, Arizona State men's gymnastics coach for 25 seasons, died Monday at age 80.
Gymnast, Coach, Judge
Don Robinson had the honor of being the first recipient of the USAG Lifetime Achievement Award designated by USA Gymnastics' Hall of Fame Selection Committee.
He was inspired in his youth by a pair of hand balancers at a local YMCA “Circus Night” and later competed for North Denver HS.
He entered the Air Force upon graduation and developed a hand balancing act while in the service good enough to be televised as a part of the armed forces “Talent Patrol” hosted by Bud Collier and Arlene Francis. He also honed his artistic talent serving as cartoonist for the McCord Air Force Base newspaper.
He came under the influence of Tony Rossi while attending Colorado State College of Education (presently Univ. of Northern Colorado) and developed into a prominent all-arounder, winning Rocky Mountain AAU titles in 1957 and 1958.
He spent almost a decade coaching gymnastics at Aurora High School in Denver's suburbs winning four state championships and nine conference titles. He helped to organize the first and second Coaches Congresses (1965-66) establishing himself as a leader in the emerging United States Gymnastics Federation (USGF).
Robinson moved into the collegiate ranks in 1968 coaching for a year at Eastern New Mexico University where he earned a Master's degree. He took a position at Arizona State University (ASU) in 1969 where he spent the greater part of his career. He has been associated with the Sun Devils' gymnastics program for more than thirty years. After placing second in the NCAA collegiate championships in 1974 and 1978, ASU won the team championship in 1986.
He is a former President of the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches (renamed College Gymnastics Association). His teams amassed six Pac-10 titles, five of which were consecutive (1974-1978).
Dan Hayden was Robinson's most outstanding gymnast making the 1985 World Championships team, placed second AA in the 1985 National Championships and was NCAA champion on the parallel bars and horizontal bar in 1985 and 1986.
In all, Coach Don Robinson guided the Sun Devils to 13 top NCAA finishes, six conference titles, and directed 50 conference and eight NCAA champion gymnasts. He retired in 1993 but continued to work with ASU's club team after the University dropped the sport. DOB: 4-17-31
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