John Robinson (American football coach)

John Robinson
Position: End
Personal information
Born: (1935-07-25) July 25, 1935
Chicago, Illinois
Career information
College: Oregon
Career history
As coach:
As administrator:
Career highlights and awards
Head coaching record
Regular season: 75–68–0 (.524) (NFL)
132–77–4 (.629) (College)
Postseason: 4–6–0 (.400)
Career: 79–74–0 (.516) (NFL)
140–78–4 (.640) (College)
Coaching stats at PFR

John Alexander Robinson (born July 25, 1935) is a former American football player and coach best known for his two stints as head coach of the University of Southern California (USC) football team (1976–1982, 1993–1997) and for his tenure as head coach of the NFL's Los Angeles Rams (1983–1991). Robinson's USC teams won four Rose Bowls and captured a share of the national championship in the 1978 season. Robinson is one of the few college football head coaches to have non-consecutive tenure at the same school. In 2009, he was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.

Early life and playing career

Robinson grew up in Daly City, California, where he attended elementary school with future Pro Football Hall of Famer John Madden, and graduated from Junípero Serra High School. He attended the University of Oregon, where he played end on Oregon's 1958 Rose Bowl team.

Coaching career

Early career

He began his coaching career at the University of Oregon, his alma mater, where he served as an assistant coach under Len Casanova and Jerry Frei from 1960 to 1971. He served as USC's offensive coordinator in 1972 under John McKay, who had been an assistant coach at Oregon when Robinson played there, then served a stint as the Oakland Raiders' running backs coach in 1975, rejoining Madden, who was by then Oakland's head coach. Robinson coached at USC from 1976 to 1982 and again from 1993 to 1997.

Los Angeles Rams

Robinson is considered one of the more successful coaches in Rams history, twice leading the team to the NFC title game. Both of those contests ended in defeat against eventual Super Bowl champions, the 1985 Chicago Bears and the 1989 San Francisco 49ers. Robinson's tenure as Rams coach was made more difficult by the fact that the Rams played in the same division as the 49ers, the dominant team of the 1980s (the only time he won the NFC West title during his tenure was 1985), but he was also the coach who drafted running back Eric Dickerson. His 79 victories are the most in Rams franchise history.

Later career

Robinson was hired to coach football at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 1999. After a 2–0 start, the second win coming at Baylor where the Rebels won despite entering the game's final play down by three points and not possessing the ball, Robinson's first UNLV team finished only 3–8. The Rebels rebounded to win eight games in 2000. In 2002, Robinson was chosen as the university's athletic director, but he stepped down from that position a year later to concentrate on the coaching position. In 2003, he was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame.[1] Despite being relieved of duty as athletic director, his tenure ended with the Rebels going 2–9 in his final season in 2004.

In 2010, Robinson returned to coaching as defensive coordinator at San Marcos High School in San Marcos, California. He had never before coached at the high school level.[2]

Outside of coaching

Robinson began a three decade long association with Sports USA Radio Network in 1998, and as of January 2018 serves as a color analyst for the network.[3] He is a Board Member for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, which is named after Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive back Ronnie Lott, and is awarded annually to college football's Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year.[4]

Head coaching record


Year Team Overall ConferenceStanding Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
USC Trojans (Pacific-8/Pacific-10 Conference) (1976–1982)
1976 USC 11–17–01stW Rose22
1977 USC 8–45–2T–2ndW Astro-Bluebonnet1213
1978 USC 12–16–11stW Rose12
1979 USC 11–0–16–0–11stW Rose22
1980 USC 8–2–14–2–13rd1211
1981 USC 9–35–2T–2ndL Fiesta1314
1982 USC 8–35–2T–3rd15
USC Trojans (Pacific-10 Conference) (1993–1997)
1993 USC 8–56–2T–1stW Freedom25
1994 USC 8–3–16–2T–2ndW Cotton1513
1995 USC 9–2–16–1–1T–1stW Rose1112
1996 USC 6–63–5T–5th
1997 USC 6–54–4T–5th
USC: 104–35–463–23–3
UNLV Rebels (Mountain West Conference) (1999–2004)
1999 UNLV 3–81–68th
2000 UNLV 8–54–33rdW Las Vegas
2001 UNLV 4–73–4T–5th
2002 UNLV 5–73–4T–5th
2003 UNLV 6–62–5T–7th
2004 UNLV 2–91–68th
UNLV: 28–4214–28
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth


TeamYearRegular seasonPost season
WonLostTiesWin %FinishWonLostWin %Result
LA1983 970.5632nd in NFC West11.500Lost to Washington Redskins in Divisional Game.
LA1984 1060.6252nd in NFC West01.000Lost to New York Giants in Wild Card Game.
LA1985 1150.6881st in NFC West11.500Lost to Chicago Bears in NFC Championship.
LA1986 1060.6252nd in NFC West01.000Lost to Washington Redskins in Wild Card Game.
LA1987 690.4003rd in NFC West
LA1988 1060.6252nd in NFC West01.000Lost to Minnesota Vikings in Wild Card Game.
LA1989 1150.6882nd in NFC West21.667Lost to San Francisco 49ers in NFC Championship.
LA1990 5110.3133rd in NFC West
LA1991 3130.1884th in NFC West
LA Total75680.52446.400

Coaching tree

Assistant coaches under John Robinson who became NCAA head coaches:

See also


  1. 2009 Kickoff Luncheon and Rose Bowl Hall of Fame Induction program
  2. "Robinson not resting on his laurels". May 25, 2010.
  3. "ANALYSTS - Sports USA". SportsUSAMedia. Archived from the original on June 25, 2017. Retrieved January 15, 2018.
  4. "Board of Directors - Lott IMPACT Trophy - Honoring College Football's Defensive Best". Retrieved January 15, 2018.
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