Richard “Dick” Robinson attended Kearny Junior-Senior High School and graduated in 1949. He participated in football and wrestling, but his success came in wrestling when he won the San Diego Country Wrestling Championship in 1945 in the 95-pound division. He continued to win many CIF and AAU wrestling medals throughout his high school career.
Upon graduating, Dick attended San Diego State University from 1949-53, earned his degree in art, and continued his wrestling success when he twice won the Pacific Coast Intercollegiate Champion Wrestling and Outstanding Boxer Award.
From 1958-62, Dick was a passionate art teacher and the wrestling coach at Chula Vista High School Validating his excellence in the classroom and his positive impact on his students, he received the California Teacher of the Year Award in 1958.
From 1962 to 1992, Dick was a professor of Visual Arts at Southwestern College. He also served as the Apaches’* first Head Wrestling Coach from 1963 to 1966. William “Bill” Virchis (Hall of Fame, Class of 2008) was a member of Coach Robinson’s wrestling team, and he has fond memories of his years under Coach’s tutelage. “I was a 79 pound kid when I first met Coach, and he made me feel like Hercules. He was tough and disciplined. Tough Love was his middle name. Being a great athlete himself, he knew the pathway to a greater vision for all who met him. I owe him a big part of my heart because his inspiration and his coaching technique I still use to this day as a coach at Otay Ranch High School.”
An example of Coach Robinson’s “Tough Love” is found in the story relayed by Coach Virchis. “We were on our way to Holtville for a wrestling tournament, and one of our wrestlers put a cigarette in his mouth. Coach stopped the van in Plaster City and made us run to Holtville. It was 110 degree in the shade. Needless to say, we won the tournament. The wrestler never smoked again, and all of us never forget Imperial Valley as long as we live.”
Dick also was an acclaimed artist and instructor at Southwestern for 30 years, presenting many one-man exhibitions and winning several major prizes in painting and sculpture. He also won many running competitions, including the Heart of San Diego Marathon Masters Championship in 1980. His other competitive age-group triathlon championships include 10 National Championships, seven World Championships (three from the Iron Man competition), and four ITU titles. In 2006, he won his age group title in the World Duathlon Championships. Locally, Dick was selected at the San Diego Hall of Champions Star of the Month of September 2006. His trophy wall includes 190 trophies and 90 medals for participating in wrestling, running, and triathlons in seven countries and 16 states, an amazing legacy reflecting a lifetime of excellence.
Dick also served as a member of CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) and participated many years in the Civil Rights movement and in the anti-war demonstrations. His actions always reflected his beliefs. Again Coach Bill Virchis state: “Coach Robinson reminds me of what John Quincy Adams said, ‘If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.’ He is a leader of men.”
Dick has been married for 64 years to Dolores, his beautiful wife and high school sweetheart, who was also a professor of Art History at Southwestern College.
The Southwestern College Athletic Hall of Fame welcomes Dick Robinson into the Class of 2015 and congratulates him for his exceptional contributions as an athlete, coach, educator and artist.