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Robinson stepping down as Tusculum women's volleyball coach

Robinson stepping down as Tusculum women's volleyball coach

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Michael Robinson has announced he will be resigning as head coach of the Tusculum University women's volleyball program announced TU vice president of athletics and university initiatives Doug Jones.  Robinson is stepping down to pursue professional and personal opportunities.

Jones indicated that current TU assistant coach and head beach volleyball coach Ashton Hippenstiel will serve as interim during the national search process to find Robinson's successor.

Robinson just completed his 11th season at the helm of the Pioneer program where the Black & Orange posted a 6-20 overall record including 4-16 in South Atlantic Conference play to finish 10th in the conference standings.

During his tenure at the Greeneville, Tennessee school, Robinson's teams posted a 188-152 overall record.  His 188 wins are the second-most in program history and his .553 career winning percentage is fifth in the TU record book.  His 116 wins in South Atlantic Conference play are the fourth-most in league history, while his 188 overall victories are sixth in the SAC record book.

"I wish to thank Coach Robinson for his service to Tusculum University these past 14 years (3 as an assistant and 11 as head coach).  Michael was an integral part in building Tusculum into a quality volleyball program culminating in seven winning seasons and five trips to the NCAA Tournament," said Jones. 

"But most importantly, Michael has been responsible for the development of our student-athletes and for their academic successes both on and off the court.  We are not only losing a volleyball coach but we are losing a friend to Tusculum University.  We wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors," Jones added.

Robinson took over the program in spring of 2008, becoming the ninth head coach in the history of volleyball at Tennessee's most historic university.

He mentored 24 All-South Atlantic Conference honorees, seven All-Region selections, two SAC Freshmen of the Year, 11 SAC All-Freshman picks and two All-Americans including three-time honoree Caitlyn Dean (2010, 2011, 2013) who ended her career as Division II's all-time leader in digs. 

"I want to thank my Tusculum family for all of the support throughout the years.  This place has truly been home for me.  I've met, worked, and coached with so many great people who have become like extended family to me.  This is the part I will miss the most," said Robinson.  "I couldn't have asked for a more supportive and caring administration and players during my tenure at Tusculum."  I'm very excited as I start the next chapter of my journey as I pursue other professional opportunities as well as spending more time and focus on starting a family."

He guided the Pioneers to the SAC Tournament championship match twice, while advancing to the NCAA Division II Tournament five times.  He was named the SAC Volleyball Coach of the Year in 2010 and 2012.

In 2012, Robinson put together one of the best seasons since Tusculum became a NCAA Division II member.  The Pioneers posted a 24-8 overall record, including 14-4 in the South Atlantic Conference to finish runner-up in the league standings for the second time in three years.  Included in that victory tally was a 3-1 road win at 16th-ranked Wingate on Sep. 15, 2012, snapping the Bulldogs' 83-match SAC winning streak, a span covering six seasons.

On Oct. 30, 2012, Robinson became only the second Tusculum volleyball coach to record 100 career wins as the Pioneers posted a 3-1 victory at Carson-Newman.  The win over C-N was part of a nine-match winning streak as Tusculum marched its way to the SAC Tournament title match, before falling in a five-set marathon against Wingate.

TU earned the fourth-seed in the 2012 NCAA II Southeast Regional, held in Savannah, Georgia.  TU outlasted Lincoln Memorial in a five-set battle and followed with a stunning 3-1 upset over top-seeded Armstrong on the Pirates' home floor to advance to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time in program history.  The Pioneers rallied from a set down to defeat Armstrong.

His 2010 squad posted an impressive 25-7 worksheet, including a school record 16-2 mark in SAC play.  TU tallied a 10-match winning streak and a stellar 10-1 record at home, including an eight-game winning trend at Pioneer Arena to end the season.  Four Tusculum players garnered All-SAC recognition, including rookie setter Ashley Sarmiento, who was named Conference Freshman of the Year.

Prior to assuming the head coaching duties, Robinson served the previous three years as an assistant at Tusculum.  From 2006-07, Robinson helped the program to a 48-20 record, including a 20-8 mark in the South Atlantic Conference. In 2006, Tusculum posted a 23-10 showing, a 14-win improvement from the previous season. TU also posted a 9-5 SAC record to finish fourth in the league.

That squad boasted the 2007 SAC Player of the Year in Vivian Lacy, who became the first Tusculum volleyball player to garner NCAA Division II All-America distinction.

While at Tusculum, Robinson's teams have excelled off the volleyball court, earning the American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award on multiple occasions, including 2011 as the Pioneers boasted a 3.54 cumulative GPA (2nd highest in the SAC and one of 67 DII programs to earn the honor).

Robinson, a native of Green Mountain, North Carolina, came to the Greeneville campus after serving as head volleyball coach at T.C. Roberson High School in Asheville, North Carolina in 2004.

Prior to 2004, Robinson coached six years at South Atlantic Conference member Mars Hill University. He served as a student assistant with the Lady Lions from 1998-2000 and as an assistant coach from 2001-03. During his tenure, Mars Hill boasted six All-Conference honorees, including 1998 SAC Player of the Year Nicole Silver and 2001 SAC Freshman of the Year Sarah Nash.

The 1998 Mars Hill squad posted a 32-6 overall record while capturing the South Atlantic Conference championship and the SAC Tournament title.

Robinson is a member of the American Volleyball Coaches Association and is active within the organization, serving on the AVCA Assistant Coaches Committee.

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