committee liked that Robinson said he could win in spite of the facilities, and
they were taken with his life story. "We were also aware of his family ties
[to Obama], but that really didn't factor into it," De Carolis says.
"You wouldn't pick a coach based on that." But the connection probably
won't hurt Robinson when he cozies up to recruits and their parents. "Every
job [involves] sales," Robinson says. "The biggest part of coaching is
recruiting, and that is being able to sell yourself, your school and your
At a campaign
rally in Albany, Ore., a few weeks ago, Robinson sold the idea of Obama as the
next president, introducing him to the large crowd that included several Oregon
State players. Robinson plans to campaign for Obama into November. "The
campaign is really important, and [the Oregon State job] is really
important," he says. "I think I'm capable of doing both. My
brother-in-law and my sister never ask me to do anything that jeopardizes my
job." Recently, Robinson and his second wife, Kelly, began discussing the
possibility that Robinson's 16-year-old son, Avery, and 12-year-old daughter,
Leslie, will come under Secret Service protection as Obama campaigns for
president. "It's not something you like to think about, but there is a
concern there," he says.
talking politics, but it is when he discusses his plans for the Beavers and his
belief that he can turn around the program that he sounds most like his
brother-in-law. He acknowledges that Obama's oratorical skills have rubbed off
on him, particularly the candidate's tendency to frame challenges as
offered me the job, I thought, You could get here and flop, and it's the last
college coaching job you'll get," Robinson says. "But I had to fall
back on something my father always said: 'You were good at this and this and
this, what makes you think you won't be good at that?' If you think of it that
way, you can't come up with a reason why you can't succeed. If you are used to
thinking positively, all you can think about is how to make it work. All I can
think about is what I can do to make this program better."
State fans for having the audacity to hope.