The season starts Thursday night for Josh Robbins with his first game as a defensive coordinator for Canyon del Oro. As special as the matchup against Flowing Wells will be, the Robbins family will hold the last regular-season game on the schedule closer to their heart.
That’s when Robbins will match wits on the football field at Casa Grande against his father Randy Robbins, now the defensive coordinator for the Cougars in addition to being the school’s athletic director.
“I’m going to probably be speechless in awe,” said the elder Robbins, a former standout cornerback at Arizona under Larry Smith who went on to play nine seasons in the NFL mostly with the Denver Broncos.
“I remember him as a baby, growing up … I’m going to be going through a lot of nostalgic-type stuff, but it’s going to be also a great feeling to see him (across the field). Him, starting out his life, coaching, young in his career. And me, where I’m at, I’m going to be a very proud father that day.”PROCEEDS FROM THE GAMES GO TO A SCHOLARSHIP FUND FOR LOCAL ATHLETES
Josh learned about becoming defensive coordinator recently by CDO coach Dustin Peace.
Randy will experience coaching for the first since he served on Dick Tomey’s staff at Arizona from 1998 to 2000. He has officiated high school games in Arizona and was hired as the AD at Casa Grande — his alma mater — in 2014.
Josh has been around the CDO program as a volunteer coach since he finished his career with a state title with the Dorados in 2010. He first joined Arizona’s program as a defensive back — just like his dad — before transferring to Adams State to complete his collegiate career.
Josh mentioned the greatest influence his dad had on his development in football and life in general was allowing him to be himself.
“He really did let me make my own path, my own way,” Josh said. “It’s a blessing to go home and have that (looking over at his father) to talk to.”
Randy mentioned he did not have to talk with his son about a coaching career because “I know that is what he wanted to do with all his actions.”
“He also wanted to get into education. I’m in education. He loves being around kids. I knew (coaching) was going to be his natural path, and it is. For me, it’s exciting to see that.”
Casa Grande and the elder Robbins open their season Friday night with a home game against Palo Verde. The Cougars travel to Tucson for the first time on Aug. 30 to face Sabino.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.