Robbins Approaching A Milestone

By Tony McClean
Updated: January 11, 2008

NEW HAVEN, Ct. — So far this season, several longtime black college basketball coaches have reached victory milestones. Back in November, Patricia Cage-Bibbs of North Carolina A&T became the 38th active women’s basketball coach to record 400 career wins and just the second women’s basketball coach to do it at an HBCU.

Now on Saturday night, the dean of CIAA basketball coaches has a chance to reach a milestone as well. On Thursday night, Virginia Union defeated Chowan 70-59 in a game played at the Barco-Stevens Hall in Richmond, Va.

While the win improved the Trojans’ record to 8-2, it also gave longtime head coach Dave Robbins his 699th career victory. His first attempt at number 700 will come on campus in a game against league rival Saint Paul’s at 7:30 p.m.

A 1966 graduate of Catawba College, Robbins joined Virginia Union University in Richmond, Va., in 1978. During his first year as head coach (1978-79), he led his team to the CIAA Championship, the first time that Virginia Union had captured the CIAA crown in 24 seasons.

Known affectionately by his peers as the “White Shadow”, Robbins has collected 13 CIAA Championships, three NCAA Division II National Championships while at VUU. He is responsible for helping mold the careers of future NBA All-Stars Ben Wallace and Charles Oakley.

Amassing a winning percentage of nearly .800 during his three decades at Virginia Union, Robbins has averaged nearly 24 wins per season. Among active Division II coaches, he currently ranks third in winning percentage and fourth in total victories.

The Panthers were also the second-most winningest team of the 1990s.
Following his graduation from Catawba, Robbins coached at Thomas Jefferson High in Richmond and turned them into one of the top-ranked teams in the state.

In 2004-05, Robbins won the national championship and in 2005-06, he brought the Panthers back to the championship game again, this time falling to Winona State.

Under Robbins’ leadership since 1978, the Panthers have been to the Division II “Final Four” eight times. The Panthers finished the 2006-07 season with a 23-6 mark, but fell in the Sweet 16 to Wingate.