Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

September 23, 2012

'Mo' Robinson proud of his McDowell roots

Basketball standout inducted into WVU Sports Hall

MORGANTOWN — Maurice Robinson is proud to be a Mountaineer. Moreover, Robinson is proud of his McDowell County roots that helped him become a West Virginia University Mountaineer.

Saturday morning Robinson, along with six others were inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the Caperton Indoor Practice Facility adjacent to Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium.

The Welch native was a star player for the WVU basketball team from 1975-78. He was the first recruit for coach Joedy Gardner.

College coaches from all over the country descended on Welch during the 1973-74 season hoping to get Robinson on their squad, but it was the home-state Mountaineers who won the prize.

During his induction speech, “Mo” told of one of his early encounters with the man who would later be his high school coach, Frank Marino.

Marino’s wife ran the concession stand at Linkous Park, the swimming pool in Welch. Robinson told of himself and some other Welch kids stealing candy bars and Mrs. Marino taking chase, but not catching them. Later, Coach Marino pulled up in his car and told the young Robinson to “Get in.”

He chastised the 12-year-old and then told him he was going to make him an All-American basketball player. Robinson was All-American his senior year at Welch High School.

Following the ceremony Robinson said, “Coach Marino was more of a mentor than a coach to me. He taught me a lot of different things about life. He took me under his wing. Fundamentally, basketball-wise, he taught me a lot of things I was able to use throughout my college career.”

Robinson played post at WVU despite being only 6-foot-7, and is the ninth leading rebounder in Mountaineer history. He had 42 double-doubles, including 17 during his senior year in 1977-78. He was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in the NBA draft.

Playing high school ball where and when he did, Robinson said the competition was outstanding.

“The most important part of growing up in southern West Virginia was the competition. Back then the competition was at such a high level, the quality of the athletes was outstanding,” Robinson stated.

“Back then WVU didn’t recruit a lot of those kids, but they could have played here. There’s no doubt in my mind about that.

“It was a tremendous environment. Every game we played at the (Welch) Armory was a doubleheader. It seated three-, 4,000 people and it was packed every single game night. That atmosphere itself was great.”

Robinson was well-represented at the ceremony by family and friends from McDowell County, people he said are near and dear to him, relatives and friends for life.

“There is such a ‘Patch’ presence here and I don’t know how it (McDowell County) got that name,” Robinson said. “We just stick together. And I tell people all the time that I am so glad I grew up where I did, because I can’t imagine being any better had I grown up anywhere else.”

Robinson was presented for induction by his son, Marcel.

Other Hall inductees were Athletic Director Emeritus Ed Pastilong, football player Bo Orlando, swimmer Dan Cavanaugh, soccer player Katie Barnes, basketball player Lee Patrone and the late Ben Dunkerley, a football player.

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