Oregon State athletic director Bob De Carolis announced March 28 that Craig Robinson would return for a seventh season as basketball coach, even penning a strongly worded letter of support for President Barack Obama’s brother-in-law.
The more De Carolis thought about it, the more he realized it was a mistake.
Reversing his course from five weeks earlier, De Carolis fired Robinson on Monday, ending the tenure of a coach who brought prestige to the university but who failed to get the Beavers to the NCAA Tournament in six seasons.
“During a phone call with him on Thursday, I acknowledged to him that I had changed my mind,” De Carolis said. “Despite my sincere want for Craig to be successful at Oregon State, as the days moved on since March, it became clear to me that wanting it to work with Craig as our coach was not good enough. Oregon State University, our student-athletes and our loyal supporters deserve more than a simple desire. They deserve success.”
The brother of First Lady Michelle Obama, Robinson was hired during President Obama’s first presidential campaign in 2008 and gave the university some added attention that summer, when he introduced his sister at the Democratic National Convention. Robinson also played basketball with the president on Election Day in 2012 and was with him during his private oath of office for the start of his second term.
The results on the basketball court didn’t match what he was able to accomplish from a P.R. standpoint.
Robinson had a solid start in Corvallis, taking a program that went 0-18 in the Pac-12 the year before to 18 wins in 2008-09. Robinson went 94-105 overall — 39-69 in conference — with the Beavers. Oregon State, which hasn’t reached the NCAA Tournament since 1990, will pay Robinson $4.2 million over the course of a contract that runs through 2016.