Woodlake legend inducted into PC Hall of Fame

Leo Robinson arrived in Porterville from Oklahoma in 1950 with the Robinson family. He entered Porterville High School in the tenth grade and began his football career playing tackle for a great Panther team coached by Carl Elder who had previously coached at Woodville High School.

Leo felt Coach Elder was a mentor to him and gave him a desire to further his education and to become a coach; hoping to inspire and guide young people. He graduated from Porterville High in 1953 and enrolled at Porterville College. While there, he played both football and baseball while working as a bus driver. His efforts brought him a scholarship to Fresno State. Unfortunately, his playing career in college was brief. A knee injury kept Robinson from ever playing a down for the Bulldogs, but graduated from Fresno State in 1958.

Upon graduating, Robinson went to Woodlake High School to take over the baseball program. Four years later, he was named head football coach. He became the winningest coach in the Central Valley with a record of 290-129-11 in a career that spanned 41 years. He is third in the all time win list for high schools in California. As the head baseball coach for 27 years, he amassed a record of 367-202-8. As a coach, Robinson laid down a foundation based on mental and physical toughness, discipline and preparation, an attitude he lived by himself. Even after an off season battle with cancer in 2001, which briefly robbed him of his ability to walk, Robinson returned to coaching using a golf cart to get around during practice and sitting on the bench while calling plays during the game. His Tigers captured 18 league titles and six section titles. He was a mainstay at Woodlake, with a career lasting longer than all of his original colleagues. He coached several three-generation Tigers families.

Robinson also coached both of his sons Ron and Randy. Ron went on to play in the major leagues and Randy reached the minors. Robinson died in November of 2002 at the age of 67. He is survived by his wife, Mary Lou, sons Ron and Randy and daughters Diana and Debbie. Leo cherished his time with his family. He said coaching his sons was &#8220special” and they credit their fathers for helping develop their talents and their mother for her loyal support and encouragement. His daughters are encouraged by their parents to continue their education and to succeed. The family and extended family will continue to love each other and continue to cherish the memories they have shared. The family also said this of Leo, &#8220He truly loved his days at Porterville College, and some of his success in life and work came from his time at Porterville College.”

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