Oregon State Beavers
Career Record (entering the 2008-08 season):
Pete Carril (Princeton), Bill Carmody (Northwestern)
Traditionally, coaches visit the White House after their teams win a championship.
A championship for Oregon State seems unlikely, for now. But that White House visit might not have to wait… The Beavers’ new head coach has a very important “in” with the Obama family: he’s Michelle Obama’s older brother.
Craig Robinson might need to miss a game or two this January. You simply don’t turn down an invite to the Inaugural Ball.
The relationship has already paid some dividends for Robinson, who gained significant noteriety when he introduced his sister when she spoke at the Democratic National Convention. But Obama will be subject to the same rules that cover any other Oregon State “booster” — he may be the most powerful man in the world, but NCAA guidelines won’t let him talk to OSU recruits.
The Road to Corvallis
Like his brother-in-law, Robinson is making the jump to a significantly tougher job this year — despite a comparatively thin resume. Last year he was working on gameplans for Harvard, Yale and Princeton. This seaason it’ll be UCLA, USC and Arizona.
Robinson has just two years of experience as a Division I head coach. Those came in the Ivy League, where he led Brown to a 30-28 record in two seasons. Before that, he worked in the Big 10’s basement, serving as an assistant to Bill Carmody at Northwestern for six years.
His stint at Northwestern came after a decade-long departure from the game, when he worked as a banker.
But that’s not to say Robinson doesn’t have an impressive basketball pedigree. He played college ball for the legendary Pete Carril at Princeton, and learned the famed “Princeton Offense” from the master. He used a variation of Carril’s Princeton Offense — which emphasizes constant ball movement, “backdoor” cuts to the basket and good outside shooting — at Brown and at Northwestern under Carmody, and is expected to do the same at Oregon State.
Several college and pro teams have used elements of Carril’s Princeton sets to some success, including Georgetown, Arizona State, Air Force and the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, New Jersey Nets and Houston Rockets.