Athletics News

Willie Robinson
Willie Robinson

Men's Basketball

Inducted: 1980

Coached the Illinois State basketball team from 1970-75 ... during Illinois State's early years in NCAA Division I competition, Robinson's teams compiled a 78-51 record, a winning percentage of better than .600 ... first African-American to head a NCAA Division I program when Illinois State brought him in from Detroit in 1970 ... among his top players at Illinois State are fellow Hall of Famers Doug Collins, Ron deVries and Rick Whitlow ... Robinson moved to the Detroit Pistons in 1975 to become assistant to the director of player personnel and helped shape the 1989 and 1990 NBA championship teams ... scout for the Detroit Lions for 22 years ... rehired by the Pistons in 2004 as a scout to the organization at the age of 92 ... two of Robinson's key findings were Joe Dumars, the Pistons' current general manager, and Dennis Rodman, who played 14 years in the NBA ... legendary high school coach in Michigan, where he also served as the state's first-ever African American high school coach ... member of seven athletic halls of fame ... presented the lifetime achievement award by the Missouri Valley Conference in 2003 ... died April 28, 2008 at a Detroit-area hospital ... he was 96.