CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Longtime North Carolina assistant coach Steve Robinson will not travel with the team to New Orleans for Friday’s season opener against Tulane due a blood clot in his right leg, Roy Williams announced on Thursday.
Robinson, who has been a member of Williams’s coaching staff for 14 years at UNC and 22 years overall, will also miss the team’s trip to Hawaii, which includes a game against the University of Hawaii in Honolulu and the Maui Invitational, due to travel precautions.
“He’ll still be involved in practices, but they don’t want him flying, and that’s all it is,” Williams said. “Don’t want him flying. It’s harmful to me, it’s harmful to him. This is what you work all of the time for, is to go play in somebody else’s house and try to whip them. So it’s sad for us, sad for him, but we also want to make sure we keep his best interests at heart.”
Robinson had been experiencing some pain and swelling in his right leg, according to Williams. He was informed of the diagnosis on Wednesday. There will be no changes to Robinson’s role beyond the travel restriction. He will be on the bench as normal for UNC’s home opener against Chattanooga on Sunday.
Robinson joined Williams’s staff at Kansas in 1998 and left for a seven-year stretch in which he took the head coaching jobs at Tulsa (1995-97) and Florida State (1997-2002). He rejoined Williams in 2002-03 and then transitioned to Chapel Hill in 2003-04.
Robinson stepped in for Williams following a bout with benign positional vertigo during a game at Boston College in February. After the game, Williams told reporters Robinson had “been like a brother for me for 21 years.”
UNC is scheduled to depart for New Orleans following practice on Thursday night.
“I think it’s something that he will get over,” Williams said. “They feel very good about their plan to help him, but he won’t be making those two trips with us.”