Family issues influence coach's decision

Updated: September 27, 2004, 8:33 AM ET
Associated Press

LAS VEGAS -- UNLV coach John Robinson will retire at the end of the season because of family issues, leaving the struggling program with one year left on his contract.

"I just feel like it's time," Robinson said Sunday. "I've been thinking about it for a while for two major reasons. There are some ongoing health issues in my family that are not going away. And obviously there is a pressure building up on this team surrounding all of this."

The Rebels fell to 0-4 after a 31-21 loss at home to Utah State on Saturday.

Robinson, who had two coaching stints at Southern California and another with the NFL's Los Angeles Rams, is 26-37 in six season with UNLV. He is 18th among active coaches in Division I-A with a .641 winning percentage (130-72-4).

Robinson turned around a UNLV program that had lost 16 consecutive games when he was hired in December 1998. He was named 2000 Mountain West Conference co-coach of the year after leading UNLV to an 8-5 record and a Las Vegas Bowl victory over Arkansas.

"I appreciate everything that John Robinson has done for this program," UNLV athletic director Mike Hamrick said. "I learned a great deal from coach and it has been a privilege and honor to work with him over the past year."

Robinson was also named the school's athletic director in January 2002, but stepped down 17 months later. He has matched Tony Knap for longest coaching tenure at UNLV.

With USC, Robinson was 104-35-4. He took over for John McKay in 1976 and led the Trojans to three Rose Bowls, and a co-national championship in 1978. He left USC for the NFL after the 1982 season.

Robinson coached the Rams from 1983-91, then returned to Southern Cal in 1993.

His second stay with USC wasn't as successful. The Trojans went to the Rose Bowl once (1996) from 1993-97.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press