James Dale Robinson Inducted 2001 - Class of 1961
"Once in a blue moon, an individual comes along, who makes a huge impact on his or her community and its school system. Now, Maumee High School can claim they too have had such an influential leader-his name is Mr. James 'Jim' Robinson. The thing Jim brought to Maumee was a Commitment to Excellence." These words are excerpts from "Conrad's Corner," a sports column that appeared in The Mirror, a Maumee community newspaper. This description goes a long way in explaining why Jim Robinson is a "natural" for induction into the Woodward High School Hall of Fame.
Jim attended Kleis Elementary and Point Place Junior High School. During his high school years, he lived in Point Place . . . "The Point," which is surrounded by the Maumee Bay and the Ottawa River. "The neighborhood was family-oriented ... solid people, living and working together, made up this wonderful area."
Jim's friends called him "Jimmy." Some called him "Robby." Jim had many "best friends" ... Ernest LeRoy, Gary Fritz, Jerry Clark, Dave Kregel, Jack Abrams, Chuck Janowiecki, Judy Turner, Kathy Vogelpohl, Janice Kachenmeister and Kathy Trippe.
Jim fondly remembers humorous events he experienced at Woodward. "My closest friend (Ernest LeRoy) was making faces at me behind Miss Savage's back, as she reprimanded me for being late to class. I was in the second floor hallway outside her room. As she spoke sternly to me, Ernie kept popping out of the Auditorium door behind her. When she turned to see why I was giggling, he was not there. She was angry-rightfully so."
The "serious side" of Woodward was the time Jim spent in the classroom and in sports. Many lessons were learned. Jim's favorite teachers include two fellow Hall-of-Famers, Marie Ersig and Marie Williamson. "Mrs. Ersig taught me discipline. She made me learn and inspired a strong work ethic. Marie Williamson was a master teacher. Mrs. Walchuk was kind and knowledgeable. Lou Mezaros was my football coach and a great man." Jim credits Mr. Mezaros as the WHS staff member who most profoundly affected him. "Coach Mezaros taught me dignity and confidence. He gave me self-esteem. He taught me to have not only the will to be successful, but also the will to prepare to be successful. I have carried much of what he gave me throughout a 35-year coaching and teaching career." Jim not only lettered twice in football, but also had 4 varsity letters in baseball and played basketball for 2 years.
Jim has two favorite memories of his time at Woodward. "The first was Principal Rettig congratulating me and four others for having brought the first cement Polar Bear to sit in front of WHS from the frozen custard stand in West Toledo. The second was beating Central, 20-13, at the University of Toledo Glass Bowl in the fall of 1959."
After graduating from WHS, Jim "went away" to school at Ohio State University, where he earned his Bachelors Degree in Education, with a major in History and Government and a minor in Physical Education. He obtained a Masters Degree in Administration and Supervision from the University of Toledo in1970.
Jim's career has been multi-faceted: teacher, coach and administrator. His first teaching assignment was at the Ohio School for the Deaf in Columbus, Ohio. From 1966-1983, he taught at several Ohio schools: Port Clinton High School, Western Hills High School, St. Francis DeSales High School (also Assistant Dean of Men), Lima Senior High School, Libbey High School and the University of Akron. Jim found his ''true home" at Maumee High School, where he taught for 14years, from 1983-1997. During that time at Maumee, Jim also held many administrative positions: Assistant Principal, Athletic Director, and Activities Director. Jim also found time to serve his community. He was Maumee's City Recreation Director from 1987-1997. After Jim left Maumee High School, he served as Principal at Lake Junior High. He returned to his "old love", Maumee High School, in 1999 and currently teaches Physical Education and coaches.
As a coach, Jim did it all. He has been a high school head coach in cross-country, baseball, tennis, softball, and basketball. He was an assistant basketball coach at the University of Akron. Jim was named "Coach of the Year" several times in softball and basketball. He coached 15 championship teams in those same sports. As Maumee's basketball coach, his 14 years produced 12 winning seasons. His overall coaching record was 368 wins and 209 losses. He has been heralded not only as a ''winner'' in terms of his won-loss record, but also as a role model and one whose most important victories are building character in his players.
Jim has been married to Carol (Culp), a DeVilbiss grad, for 35 years. They have two daughters, Jennifer (30) and Carrie (28), and one son, Jim Jr. (23), and five grandchildren. Jim enjoys family dinners, fishing for trout and salmon on Lake Michigan and golfing at Heatherdowns Country Club. Both Jim and Carol Robinson are known as two of Maumee's finest citizens, due to their continued involvement in the community.
Jim described the moment when he was notified of his election to the Hall of Fame as ''warm and nostalgic." "I am deeply honored and proud to be a Polar Bear."
Jim's "boss" at Maumee High School, Principal Jim Cellio, has described Jim as an extremely hard worker. "He is firm, fair and calm under fire. Professionals in other districts know Jim and respect him . . . I never heard one negative word or comment directed toward Jim. The word I hear most is 'class'."
"Class" ... that says it all! Jim has it, and we honor it tonight as he is inducted into the WHS Hall of Fame.