April 17, 2002
Clemson, SC – Bobby Robinson, who has served Clemson University for over 30 years, including the most recent 17 as athletic director , was presented the Order of the Palmetto in the Governor’s Office at the State Capital in Columbia on Wednesday, April 17, 2002. The Order of the Palmetto was presented by Billy Boan.
The Order of the Palmetto was initiated in 1981 by Governor John West. The award recognizes important people who have helped the state of South Carolina. It is the highest award that can be presented to civilian resident of the state. Robinson is the first employee of the athletic department to be presented the Order of the Palmetto since Bob Bradley received the honor on October 28, 2000.
Robinson announced on Feb. 12 that he would retire July 1, 2002. He has been Clemson’s Athletic Director since 1985, but has worked for the Athletic Department since 1973 when he worked in administration and served as the Clemson golf coach.
In 17 years as athletic director Clemson has won 57 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships. Nine years in his 16 seasons as Athletic Director, Clemson’s all-around sports program has ranked in the Top 25 nationally, including three top 10 finishes. (This academic year has not yet been completed). Under his direction, Clemson programs have had a combined 143 top 25 seasons, an average of 8.9 top 25 seasons per year. That included 11 last year, the programs strongest showing in 10 years. Clemson has had 382 All-Americans during the era, an average of 24 per year. That includes 31 last year, second highest number in school history.
All 19 of Clemson’s sports programs have had a top 20 national ranking at one time or another and 12 different sports programs have had a top five ranking at one time or another, including three programs (golf, soccer and baseball) that have been ranked #1 during the regular season. Sixteen of the 19 programs have had at least one final top 10 ranking during the last 16 years, including 10 that have had a top five NCAA Tournament finish or final ranking. Clemson has had 25 individual National Championship performances in its history. Twenty-three of those have come since Robinson became Athletic Director in March of 1985.
Academically, Clemson has reached a point where 60 percent of the student athletes are members of the academic honor roll and the GPA margin between the general student body and student athletes is just two one-hundreths of a point. Seven different sports have had an academic All-American the last 10 years. Clemson is the only program in the nation to have two first-team Academic All-America football players each of the last two years.
Robinson opened Vickery Hall in 1991. It was the first stand-alone facility for student-athlete enrichment in the nation, a concept many schools have copied. Since it opened, the GPA of Clemson student-athletes has risen from 2.33 to 2.80. Under his direction, the athletic department has contributed nearly $4 million to academic scholarships for non-athletes and other projects that benefit the general student body.
As Clemson’s Golf coach between 1974-83, he set the foundation of a men’s golf program that is now ranked among the top five in the country on a consistent basis. He brought Clemson its first ACC Golf Championship in the sport (1982) and first top five NCAA Tournament (1983).
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