Archie Robinson poses during his senior year at Hillsdale. (Courtesy | Hillsdale College Athletics)

Charger football hall-of-famer Archie Robinson ’72 died on Oct. 28. He was 71 years old.

Robinson was a standout athlete during his time at Hillsdale playing varsity football, bas­ketball, and baseball. He amassed an impressive record during his four years as a defensive back for the Chargers. 

On the gridiron, Robinson fin­ished his college career with a school-record of 20 inter­cep­tions, a then-season record of seven inter­cep­tions, and 116 career tackles. He also led his team to the NAIA national playoffs in 1969. In 1971, Robinson was named an NAIA First Team All-American and was the first Charger to ever make the Kodak Little All-American Team. 

Robinson was known across the country for his speed and power during his career as a Charger. Weighing in at 215 pounds, he ran a 4.6‑second 40-yard dash, which was extremely quick for his weight class. He ini­tially played line­backer but switched to DB when coaches believed the position would be a better fit for him, seeing as he could outrun most safeties and cornerbacks. 

Michael Mills ’71, a former teammate, friend, and safety for the Chargers said that Robinson carried himself dif­fer­ently than other players. 

“He wanted to be twice as good as anybody else, and he could do so,” Mills said. “His weight and speed were unmatched.” 

Robinson was a natural-born leader and served as captain of the football, baseball, and bas­ketball teams during his time as a Charger. 

“Muddy took a bunch of boys and made them into men,” Mills said. “But Archie was some­thing else. We were respected when we stepped onto the field with Archie.”

Head football coach Keith Otterbein, who had been acquainted with Robinson but never played at the same time, said he had only the highest respect for him. 

“We’re sad­dened by the loss, and we were impacted greatly by his years as a coach and a player,” Otterbein said. “That’s what you do as a coach; you impact people and create a ripple effect of impacting people down the road. His impact lasted his whole life, and it’ll con­tinue even further.” 

After grad­u­ating from Hillsdale in 1972, Robinson declared for the NFL draft. He was drafted in the 13th round by the Miami Dol­phins. Robinson was drafted along with teammate Chester Marcol, a kicker who was later named to the Packers Hall of Fame in 1987. 

While scouts had high hopes after seeing his phys­i­cality, size, and speed, a career in the NFL was not right for Robinson. He left before playing in his first season. 

Robinson later found his calling in coaching, accepting his first head coach position at Saginaw Valley State Uni­versity in 1973. Prior to that, he worked as an assistant football coach under his former college coach, Frank “Muddy” Waters at SVSU. He was later named the first women’s bas­ketball coach for Saginaw Valley, winning the 1976 GLIAC Cham­pi­onship and com­piling an overall record of 90 – 28. 

Robinson even­tually left SVSU and began coaching football, bas­ketball, and baseball at high schools all around Michigan. His most suc­cessful position was at Hamady High School near Flint, Michigan. 

During his time as a bas­ketball coach at Hamady, Robinson com­piled a record of 332 – 59. 

Robinson was an active member of his church, the First Baptist Church of Bridgeport, in Saginaw, Michigan. He taught Sunday school, sang in the choir, and served as an usher. He is sur­vived by his wife, Sharon Robinson, and his daughter, Ruth Ann Robinson.