It's official: Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez has named former Syracuse head coach Greg Robinson as his new defensive coordinator. Robinson replaces Scott Shafer, who spent one year U-M before taking the D.C. job at Syracuse.
"Greg brings a wealth of experience as a defensive coordinator, both at the collegiate and professional level," said Rodriguez. "We are excited to have Greg, Laura and their entire family, join our Michigan family. I know that Greg will work well with our defensive staff, entire football staff and players."
Current Texas head coach Mack Brown worked with Robinson previously and added his endorsement for the Wolverines new defensive coordinator.
"I'm excited for Greg and Laura to join the great Michigan tradition and happy for Rich, his staff and the Wolverine program because they're getting a super family and one of the best defensive coordinators in the country," Brown said.
"Greg's a high energy, creative, hard-working guy who has had success at both the NFL and collegiate levels. He's a veteran coach with a wealth of knowledge who the players really respond to. His season here in 2004 produced one of the best defenses in Texas history and helped set the stage for our National Championship season in 2005."
Robinson was the defensive coordinator at Texas in 2004, the year Michigan lost to the Longhorns in the Rose Bowl. He was hired at Texas after three years coordinating the Kansas City Chiefs' defense in the NFL (2001-03). That followed a six-year stint (1995-2000) with the Denver Broncos that included Super Bowl titles in 1997 and 1998, the latter one of the most impressive bullets on his resume.
"The first thing I think about when I think of Coach Robinson is his passion for coaching and love of the game," former Longhorns' linebacker Derrick Johnson said. "He's a players coach who is very patient with his players and works well with everyone. He knows how to get his point across about what he expects and has you prepared for everything on game day.
"He's a guy who has a lot of experience and has won Super Bowls so you know he knows what he's doing. Then, when you get working in his defense, you really see it because he puts you in a position to make plays. He's always adding in new wrinkles for the defense to keep the offense off balance. When he came in my senior year, he tweaked his defense to the players we had and helped me become a better player. I was making plays before that but his style allowed me to make even more and all over the field. He was great for Texas and I think he'll do great things at Michigan."
The Broncos' defense held the Miami Dolphins scoreless in the divisional playoffs, allowed only a touchdown as a result of a fumble on the one-yard line against the New York Jets in the AFC Championship Game, and then allowed a single touchdown to the Atlanta Falcons in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl after the outcome was secure.
Still, Longhorns fans were lukewarm when head coach Mack Brown brought Robinson in before the 2004 season.
"They didn't like that they'd gotten someone who had just been dismissed by the Chiefs, but after he came in and people got to know him, saw what he was capable of, he was well liked," said Orangebloods.com's Jason Suchomel. "When he left [for Syracuse], people were sorry to see him go.
"What they liked most about him was his passion. He was really a fiery guy from the sidelines. His defense played above its head in the Red River Shootout that year, but the offense couldn't get it going [in a 12-0 loss to Oklahoma] … afterwards the Oklahoma fans were really giving it to the coaches and players, and he gave it right back. The fans loved that about him."
Robinson didn't do much recruiting at Texas by design, Suchomel said – Brown had the position coaches do most of the work on the trail – but he added a much-needed element to the defense.
"He and [assistant coach] Dick Tomey really helped that team get over the hump," said Suchomel. "Texas has always been good, but they really instilled some toughness that was lacking there. He had them in the weight room early, developed some mental toughness … he took them to another level."
Robinson's resume as posted by SUAthletics.com:
• Head Coach, Syracuse, 2005-2008
• Coordinator/LB coach, Texas, 2004
• Defensive Coordinator, Kansas City Chiefs, 2001-03
• Defensive Coordinator, Denver Broncos, 1995-2000
• Defensive Coordinator, New York Jets, 1994
• Asst. Coach/DL coach, New York Jets, 1990-93
• Offensive Coordinator, UCLA, 1989
• Asst. Coach/DL coach, UCLA, 1982-88
• Asst. Coach, N.C. State, 1980-81
• Asst. Coach, Cal State Fullerton, 1977-79
• Asst. Coach, Pacific, 1975-7
Syracuse University (2005-2008)
Syracuse's 2.83 sacks per game ranked 19th nationally in 2006 ... Syracuse tied for 23rd in Division I-A victory improvement in 2006 ... The 2005, defensive unit ranked 21st in pass defense and 37th in pass efficiency defense, climbing from 2004 rankings of 90th and 97th, respectively.
University of Texas (2004)
Defense ranked 18th in scoring defense (17.92), 16th in rushing defense (107.42) and 23rd in total defense (320.08) in the country … Two first-team All-Big 12 selections and five others who earned recognition among the All-Big 12 second, third and honorable mention teams
Kansas City Chiefs (2001-03)
In 2002 and 2003, the defense produced 70 sacks and forced 68 turnovers (43 interceptions/25 fumble recoveries). During that time, Kansas City posted a 21-11 record ... 2002 defense ranked third in the NFL, led AFC in turnover margin (+16) and registered 34 sacks, 18 interceptions and forced 31 total miscues ... 2003 led NFL in turnover margin (+19), tied for sixth in sacks (36) sacks, third in interceptions (25), fifth in forced turnovers (37).
Denver Broncos (1995-2000)
1999 defense ranked seventh in total defense (297.1 ypg) and eighth in pass defense (188.5 ypg) … The performance of Robinson's defense throughout the '98 playoffs was paramount to Denver's quest for a second straight title. The Broncos allowed opponents just 25 total points, 53.0 rushing yards per game and forced a remarkable 13 turnovers in the three postseason games … 1998 ranked third in run defense (80.4 ypg) and eighth in scoring defense (19.3 ppg) … 1997 defense ranked fifth in total defense (291.9), sixth in scoring defense (17.9 ppg), and fifth in pass defense (179.3 ypg) … 1996 defense ranked fourth in total defense (279.4 ypg), seventh in scoring defense (17.2 ppg), 10th in pass defense (214.3 ypg), and led the NFL in run defense (83.2 ypg) … 1995 defense ranked eighth in pass defense (206.1 ypg)
Championship and Bowl Games as a Coach
• Robinson's Bowl Record (Super Bowl and Collegiate): 10-0
• 2004 Rose Bowl Champions, Texas
• 2003 NFL Playoffs, Kansas City Chiefs
• 2000 NFL Playoffs, Denver Broncos
• 1999 NFL Playoffs, Denver Broncos
• 1998 Super Bowl Champions, Denver Broncos
• 1997 Super Bowl Champions, Denver Broncos
• 1996 NFL Playoffs, Denver Broncos
• 1991 NFL Playoffs, New York Jets
• 1988 Cotton Bowl Champions, UCLA
• 1987 Aloha Bowl Champions, UCLA
• 1986 Freedom Bowl Champions, UCLA
• 1985 Rose Bowl Champions, UCLA
• 1984 Fiesta Bowl Champions, UCLA
• 1983 Rose Bowl Champions, UCLA
• 1982 Rose Bowl Champions, UCLA
Collegiate accomplishments as a Player
• Played linebacker at Bakersfield Community College from 1970-71
• Played center, tight end and linebacker at Pacific from 1972-74
• Graduate of University of Pacific (political science), 1975
• Born October 9, 1951 in Los Angeles, California
• He and his wife, Laura, have three children, Dominic, Lindsay and Leslie. Dominic was a graduate assistant at SU in 2005 and 2006.
For more on Robinson from his days at Texas, click here: Greg Robinson.