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Desmond Robinson, who played on some of the greatest teams in Pitt football history during his collegiate career, returned to his alma mater in February as running backs coach. He brings to Pittsburgh nearly 30 years of experience on the collegiate, prep and professional levels.
Robinson was a linebacker and defensive end at Pitt from 1974-78, playing under head coaches John Majors and Jackie Sherrill. He was a member of three squads that finished in the nation's Top 20, including the 1976 team that went 12-0 and was unanimously selected as national champions.
His collegiate coaching career began under Sherrill as a part-time assistant with the Panthers in 1981. That year, Pitt went 11-1 and achieved a No. 2 ranking in the final coaches' poll following a 24-20 victory over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.
Robinson would ultimately go on to coaching posts at Notre Dame, West Virginia, Syracuse, Tulane, Dartmouth and Connecticut. He also coached on the professional level with NFL Europe.
His standout pupils at running back include West Virginia's Amos Zereoue, a 1,000-yard rusher and the Big East's Rookie of the Year in 1996; Notre Dame's Autry Denson, who became the Irish's all-time leading rusher with 4,318 yards; and Syracuse's Damien Rhodes, one of the Orange's top 10 all-time rushers.
Robinson and new Pitt head coach Paul Chryst previously worked together as assistants under Don Nehlen at West Virginia during the 1989 and '90 seasons. Incidentally, another Pitt assistant coach, Chris Haering, was a standout senior linebacker for the Mountaineers on the '89 squad.
Robinson had two coaching tours at West Virginia (1988-91 and 1995-96). Initially coaching the WVU defensive line, he oversaw the development of All-America Chris Parker and NFL first-round draft pick Renaldo Turnbull (New Orleans Saints).
Between his stints in Morgantown, Robinson was the assistant head coach at Tulane (1992-94) and also worked with the Green Wave's defensive line and linebackers.
From 1997-2001, Robinson was the running backs coach at Notre Dame, serving under another Jackie Sherrill protégée, Bob Davie. In addition to helping Autry Denson become the school's all-time leading ground gainer, Robinson also worked with standout Notre Dame backs Julius Jones, Tony Fisher and Joey Goodspeed - each of whom went on to NFL careers.
Robinson spent 2002 in NFL Europe coaching the defensive line with the Barcelona Dragons, and later was a head coach on the prep level at Westminster School in Connecticut (2003-04). He coached the running backs at Syracuse from 2005-06 and served as the Orange's assistant athletic director for football operations during the 2007-08 seasons.
Robinson earned his bachelor's degree in urban management from Pitt in 1978. He and his wife Pearlena, also a Pitt graduate, have two children, son Jason and daughter Ashley.
- Early Enrollee
- Gray Shirt
- Video Highlights
- Medical Redshirt
- Primary (Inactive)
- Secondary (Inactive)
- Keeper (Inactive)