Robinson surprised at hall of fame induction
“You don’t kick 50 extra points unless someone is scoring the touchdowns, and you don’t throw a touchdown pass unless someone is catching it,” Charley Robinson said yesterday to underscore his claim that his teammates are the reason he was chosen for induction into the Texas Six-Man Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
“They’re the reason I’m in there,” he said.
It was a family and friends affair for Robinson last Saturday when the longtime reporter, coach and educator was welcomed into the hall of fame during the 2017 all-star games held in Wichita Falls.
He was accompanied by his wife, Ann, and their 9-year-old great-granddaughter Faith. At the event, he was surprised by the appearance of his La Pryor High School football coach David Easterling, now of Capron, Virginia, and former teammate Jimmy Herring of Lafayette, Louisiana.
“When you have your old coach and one teammate come all that way, it’s real meaningful,” Robinson said, adding that their presence was one of the best things about the experience.
“My family and my friends have been so encouraging,” Robinson added. “I don’t think I deserve it. I had a lot of great teammates. We had a lot of great athletes. I don’t even consider myself in the top 20.”
Induction follows a nomination and voting process. When someone is nominated for the hall of fame, his name may remain on the ballot for up to five years. Names are removed after the fifth year if the nominees do not receive enough votes for induction.
Robinson was chosen for induction the first year his name was on the ballot. He learned last summer he would be inducted during the halftime ceremony of this year’s all-star six-man football game.
He was nominated by Easterling, who, at 90 years old, is still coaching. Easterling coaches football and baseball at Southampton Academy in Courtland, Virginia.
When Easterling nominated Robinson for the honor, the voting committee fielded multiple phone calls and letters from Robinson’s supporters advocating on his behalf.
Robinson graduated high school as the salutatorian of La Pryor High School’s Class of 1956. During his high school career, the LPHS Bulldogs won district in 1952, 1953, 1954, and 1955; bi-district, 1952, 1953, and 1954; and regional, 1952 and 1953.
From 1952-54, the school enjoyed a record-setting 26-game winning streak.
Robinson’s photo appeared on the cover of the National Six-Man Football Magazine for his junior and senior years, 1955 and 1956.
During his junior year of high school, Robinson led the United States in points after touchdown with 52, and he threw six touchdown passes in one game.
During his senior year, he led the nation in five offensive categories and tied to lead another. He led in the highest percentage of passes completed, highest percentage of conversion kicks, most kick-offs over the goal line with 16, and longest field goal with a 43-yard attempt. He tied with Harold Nichol of Melbourne, Iowa, for most passes completed.
Robinson and Terry Clark, a four-year starter for the Highland Hornets, were inducted into the hall of fame as athletes. Coaches inducted were Mitch Lee, Karry Owens, Clyde Parham and the late James Bruce Jones.
Robinson signed a contract with the Baltimore Orioles in September of 1956, soon after graduating high school. He played minor league baseball for three years before enrolling in college.
He graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Science degree in June of 1963. He was an assistant baseball coach at Texas Tech from 1961-1963.
In 1963, he began his teaching career in Pecos, kicking off a 41-year tenure in Texas schools, which, taken with nine years of teaching and coaching in Carlsbad, New Mexico, culminated in 50 years spent in the education field.
For 30 of those years, he coached in the fields of football or baseball, while 20 years were spent as an administrator.
He started his sports-minded life as a spectator, first in the stands while a student and later became a ball boy on the sidelines.
Though his mother forbid him to play football – “She just knew if I didn’t get killed, I would surely be maimed for life,” Robinson recalled in an interview last year – he excitedly suited up for after-school football practice after intentionally missing the school bus.
“I was a sports nut. I liked everything.”
When asked to name his favorite sport between those he played – basketball, football, track, and baseball – watched, or coached, he said his favorite is whichever is in season.