YOAKUM — Bo Robinson insists becoming a football coach wasn’t so much a conscious decision, but more a matter of following the natural fiber of his being.
Robinson has been around the game virtually his entire life, starting as a young boy when he’d go to the field house with his late father, Wendell, who was a head coach for 36 seasons.
Robinson’s involvement with the game continued when he played for his father at Bremond, on the defensive line for the University of Texas, and briefly in the NFL for the Atlanta Falcons.
“That’s all I ever had modeled to me,” Robinson said.
Robinson became an assistant coach at Montgomery for a season and spent two years under his father at Bangs before taking over as head coach.
Robinson spent seven years at Bangs and nine at La Vernia before becoming the athletic director and head football coach at Yoakum in 2015.
Robinson has had success at all three stops and will be going for his 200th career win Friday when Yoakum plays host to Gonzales at Bulldog Stadium.
“It means I’ve been coaching for a long time,” joked the 52-year-old Robinson, who has a career record of 199-94 in his 24 seasons as a head coach.
“You’ve got to get punched in the mouth some to learn in this business,” Robinson said. “As a young guy, you think you know everything, especially playing in college and a little bit in the NFL, you think you got this thing figured out. You can’t recruit your kids in high school. You’ve got what you got and you’ve got to learn to do the most with what you’ve got.”
Robinson, and his brother Ty, who was the head coach at Yorktown and is currently the head coach at Woodville, learned from their father, but have adapted along the way.
“You can’t coach like my dad anymore,” Bo Robinson said. “My dad played for Gordon Wood in high school and Bud Wilkinson at OU. All his coaches that were his role models had fought in World War II and killed people. That’s how they coached the kids. Dad was from that era. He was a really, really good football coach, but you really can’t coach that way anymore.”
Robinson’s father was the head coach at nine schools, but Robinson has been content to stay longer to provide a more stable environment for his wife, Farah, and son, Silas, who played at Yoakum and currently plays at Texas State and plans to become a coach.
“I packed a U-Haul so many times as a kid,” Robinson said. “I didn’t want to do that.”
The Bulldogs get their first win of the season, behind an impressive performance from junior quarterback Ty Gordon, who recorded three total touchdowns for his team.
Robinson’s concern for his family extends to his coaches and players on and off the field.
“He has a heart of gold,” said Yoakum co-offensive coordinator Jacoby Jones, who played for Robinson at Bangs and has coached with him at La Vernia and Yoakum. “He’ll do anything for you. He’s going to have your back. He’s just a genuine, overall good guy. It doesn’t just pertain to football. He treats everyone like they want to be treated.”
Robinson has a 51-30 record at Yoakum and led the Bulldogs to the 2016 Class 3A, Division I state final.
Yoakum has struggled this season, going 1-3 with a young team that lost five starters to injury in its season-opening loss to Industrial.
The Bulldogs have played state-ranked Cuero and Cameron Yoe and still have Waco La Vega on the schedule.
Robinson has never shied away from playing a tough non-district schedule to prepare his team for the long run.
“We’ve always tried to play good people in non-district,” Robinson said. “My record has never been my biggest concern. Getting better and having the kids ready for district — and I did get that from my daddy.”
The Bulldogs got to celebrate a 28-21 win over Calhoun last week in Port Lavaca, and hope to enjoy an even bigger celebration this week on their home field.
“Growing up playing with him he’s more of like a father figure to me,” said senior Jayden Jones, Jacoby’s son. “Getting him that 200th and seeing the smile on his face would mean everything to me.”
Yoakum players are likely to see their coach smile many more times. Robinson could retire after this season, but plans to coach for years to come.
“This whole thing is a big ol’ wheel and that wheel keeps on turning,” Robinson said. “Stuff goes away and it comes back. If you want to win every year, you’ve got to keep on moving. There are a few places where you can win all the time, but they’re few and far between. Most places are going to cycle kids in and out. We stayed here because we love the community and love the kids.”