Leo Robie Inducted 1988 - Teacher/Coach
Leo Robie, who was born in Erie, Pennsylvania, never attended Woodward High School as a student, but his love for Woodward was deeper than that of many people who did. His dedication began his first day at Woodward and lasted the rest of his life. The hours he spent teaching, coaching, and acting as an advisor to the young people of Woodward and North Toledo can never be counted. He coached baseball, his first love, for 35 years, longer than any other coach has coached any sport at Woodward. He coached virtually every other sport, even taking the job of equipment manager. His strong disciplinary methods of coaching can never be forgotten by anyone who played on his teams. He loved athletics for that reason--you needed to "control yourself," be self-disciplined to be a good athlete. He spent his entire teaching and coaching career trying to get athletes and students to learn self-discipline.
Not only did Leo influence the young, but he was well-known and well-liked in the Woodward community. He taught night classes at the Lagrange-Central Branch of the Toledo Public Library
and his work as an insurance agent after school helped him meet many people of the North End and make many friends there. He was stern, but well-liked even in his business endeavors. Seeing the need for a strong athletic program in the community, he was an organizer and first Commissioner of the Fourth Ward Old-timers Baseball Association, a program still going strong in the Woodward neighborhood.
Leo Robie began his teaching career at Woodward back in the 1930s. He was the first teacher hired in the Toledo School System to teach the Polish language. His five classes of Polish each day were filled with conversation, history, and activities. His work with the Polish Literary Society is remembered by many. He became an expert in this field of Polish, even returning to Poland to further his studies at Jagiellonie University in Krakow, where he received his Master’s degree. He also taught Polish at DeSales College at night and in the summer.
Though heavily schooled in the Polish language, Leo was also certified to teach English, Latin, and Sociology. As Interest in Polish as a language dwindled, he began to teach Social Studies courses: He helped organize the curriculum for a new course called Orientation which dealt with Sociology, History, Civics, and Local History. He became Chairman of the Orientation Department at Woodward and did much to expand the ideas of the course to such a point that it became a required course for all freshman students. .
Besides his work with the Polish Literary Society, Leo assumed leadership of the cheerleaders, became advisor to the Student Booster Club where he introduced the use of the School Spirit Trophy, and, eventually, became advisor to the school yearbook, the SAGA. All these jobs required much time and energy, and, although Leo was already in his fifties, he still had enough time and energy to lead the yearbook staff through its most prosperous years. Few people know of the large donation his SAGA staff made to the building of Woodward’s football stadium. He did it with pride and a love for Woodward High School.
Of all of his interests at Woodward, Leo loved coaching baseball the best. He often talked of the skills necessary to be a good baseball player and many young men who were fortunate to play baseball for him will never forget his demanding style of coaching. He got all he could out of his players, introducing many championship teams and many quality athletes. The name of Dick Drago comes to mind. Even though Leo was near the end of his coaching career, he knew that Dick was exceptional and worked hard with him, teaching him the skills needed to be a successful professional player. Dick responded well and spent many years in the major leagues, having a great career. He was just one of many of Leo's players who became successful in athletics. One thinks of some names- Wozniak, Marok, Knierim, Wilusz, Smith, Leininger. Leo was recently nominated for the Ohio Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame.
Leo's wife, Charlotte, still lives in Toledo and proudly remembers her husband’s years at Woodward. His two sons, Kenny and Mike, are successful young men with fine careers.
Leo Robie was a tough man on the outside. The few that really got to know him saw his kind, gentler side and appreciated him even more. Close friends like Joe Stobinski and Sam Rogolsky miss him to this day. Leo touched many lives in the Woodward area and whether or not people agreed with him-they liked him. His name remains forever on the Leo Robie Award for excellence in athletics and academics, which is presented to a deserving Woodward athlete on Recognition Day each spring. A fitting tribute to a man who loved Woodward.