Longtime ASU gymnastics coach Don Robinson dies
posted on 07/05/2011

By Jeff Metcalfe - TucsonCitizen.com

Don Robinson, Arizona State men’s gymnastics coach for 25 seasons, died Monday at age 80.

Robinson coached at ASU from 1969 through ’93 when the program was eliminated as a varsity sport due to finances. The Sun Devils won the NCAA title under Robinson in 1986 and were second in 1974 and ’78.

Robinson was the first recipient of the USA Gymnastics Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000. He was inducted into the ASU Athletic Hall of Distinction in 1993.

“He was like the dad of gymnastics for Arizona,” said Scott Barclay, who was a gymnast for Robinson and is coach of the ASU men’s gymnastics club team. “Both men and women looked to him as their coach. He influenced me all the way through from the time he recruited me to today.” You get a few people in your life that make you are you are. Coach Robinson was one of those guys who built into me so many important facets of life. He made you enjoy life more and gave you a lot of tools to do that.”

Robinson grew up in Colorado then entered the Air Force after high school graduation, developing a hand-balancing act. He was a gymnast at Northern Colorado and won Rocky Mountain AAU all-around titles in 1957 and ’58.

Robinson’s coached at Aurora (Colo.) High School and Eastern New Mexico before starting at ASU. His Sun Devils teams won six conference titles. and his top gymnasts included NCAA champion Dan Hayden, who made the 1985 U.S. World Championships team.

He also was an accomplished cartoonist.

Information on services was not available Monday.