"Neil has been extremely important to us for the past seven years," Williams said. "I felt very comfortable when Steve Robinson left that I could replace him with Neil. I knew that the continuity would remain with a coach who would care about our student-athletes both on and off the court, and that would represent the University in the right way. It's ironic that now, seven years later, I'm turning it around and saying the same kinds of things. Neil is going to be extremely successful at Texas Christian and I wish him success, yet at the same time I am very pleased that I can bring Steve back and say the same kinds of things about him. He will care for our student-athletes both on and off the court and he'll represent the University the right way. The seven years that he's been gone he's gained valuable insights into the game of basketball from a head coaching perspective that I think will even be able to help us from that stage."
"On a personal note, I'm ecstatic for Steve and his family to be back in Lawrence -- they love Lawrence, they love the University of Kansas and he's been extremely important to me for the last 14 years. All of our players will get to know Steve quickly, and they will feel very comfortable around him and his personality. We're very pleased to announce that he's coming back home and coming back to our program."
Robinson returns to Lawrence after spending the past five seasons as the head coach at Florida State. He guided the Seminoles to a 64-86 record in that time, including advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in his first season, 1998. In fact, Robinson is the first coach in Florida State history to lead the team to the NCAA Tournament in his first season.
Prior to his stint in Tallahassee, Robinson spent two years as the head coach at Tulsa University, where he guided the Golden Hurricane to a 46-18 record and two appearances in the NCAA Tournament. In his final season with Tulsa -- 1997 -- the team went 24-10 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. For his efforts, Robinson was named the Coach of the Year in the Western Athletic Conference's Mountain Division.
Robinson is no stranger to Lawrence. He was a member of Williams' first staff at KU, and the team went 184-51 during his seven years as an assistant coach. The Jayhawks reached the NCAA Tournament in six of his seven seasons, and the team advanced to the Final Four in 1991 and 1993 with Robinson on the bench.
"I'm both happy and excited for the opportunity to work for Coach Williams and the University of Kansas again," Robinson said. "To me, I have an opportunity to work at the highest level for a program that emphasizes integrity, class and character. I'm very excited about having the chance to be involved again in that type of program. This is like coming home -- I'm getting the opportunity to come back home and work with people that I have fond memories of, be in a program that I have fond memories of and just be involved with what I think is one of the best college programs in the country -- and I'm not just talking about from a wins and losses perspective, but the overall program, in terms of graduating players, integrity -- the whole works of a college basketball program."
Before he landed at KU, Robinson spent two years as an assistant coach at Cornell and three seasons as an aide at his alma mater, Radford. A native of Roanoke, Virginia, Robinson attended William Fleming High School, then spent two years at Ferrum Junior College, where he played basketball for two seasons before transferring to Radford to finish his collegiate eligibility.
He was Radford's first athletic scholarship recipient, and he was team captain during the 1980 and 1981 seasons. He earned his bachelor's degree in health and physical education in 1981 and his master's degree in counseling in 1985, both from Radford.
Robinson, 44 (born Oct. 29, 1957), and his wife, Lisa, have four children -- daughters Shauna and Kiaya and sons Tarron and Denzel.