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Chris Samuels/Deseret News/File

Southern Utah fires head basketball coach Nick Robinson

By Sean Walker  |  Posted Mar 9th, 2016 @ 12:57pm


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CEDAR CITY — Southern Utah University has fired head men's basketball coach Nick Robinson after the Thunderbirds' 85-80 loss to North Dakota in the opening round of the Big Sky Conference Tournament in Reno, Nevada, the school announced Wednesday.

Robinson finished his fourth season as the head coach of the Thunderbirds with a 28-90 overall record, including a 5-24 record in 2015-16 that placed his team 11th in the Big Sky.

Robinson met with SUU athletic director Jason Butikofer on Wednesday morning, when his dismissal was made effective immediately.

"I'd like to thank Southern Utah University for the opportunity to serve as head men's basketball coach the past four seasons," Robinson said in a news release. "The support from administration, campus, the community and the incredible student-athletes has been amazing — thank you."

The Liberty, Missouri, native led the Thunderbirds' transition to the Big Sky in 2012-13 with the 16th-youngest team in the nation and finished in sixth place in the league.

But the remainder of his tenure never panned out as well for the eighth head men's basketball coach in SUU history.

"Nick has passionately served Southern Utah University and we are grateful for everything he has done for this program," said Butikofer, noting the program's need for "a change in leadership."

Southern Utah was Robinson's first head coaching job. He spent three seasons as an assistant at Louisiana State, where he coached the team's post players and sent an LSU player to the NBA after a two-year drought. He also coached one season at NAIA William Jewell College that included an upset of the No. 1 team in the country in the first round of the NAIA Division I Tournament.

Robinson was an assistant coach for two seasons at his alma mater Stanford, helping the Cardinal to the NCAA Tournament in 2007 and advancing to the Sweet 16 in 2008.

Third-year assistant coach Todd Okeson was named interim head coach of the Thunderbirds. A national search has begun to find Robinson's replacement.

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