“For the longest time, coaching wasn’t at the top of my priority list.”
The path into coaching can be different for everyone who considers it. Some may choose coaching to give back, while others could get into coaching to stay in the game they loved so much. For new Washington Township High School head football coach Lamont Robinson, it was a little bit of both.
The 30-year-old Swedesboro resident was a three-sport athlete at Salem High School, playing basketball, football, and track and field. A car accident during his junior year forced Robinson to have surgery to replace broken bones in his neck. Five months after surgery, Robinson helped the Salem Rams to a state playoff appearance during his senior football season.
“When the accident happened, I put a lot of my faith in the Lord,” Robinson said. “I never really doubted the fact I would play again, and my family was always behind me.”
Robinson earned a full athletic scholarship to the University of Oklahoma, where he helped his team to three consecutive Big XII Conference championships and made three BCS bowl game appearances. The Salem native graduated from Oklahoma in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in religious sciences and African American studies. In 2014, Robinson earned a master’s degree in administration of human service from Wilmington University.
Since his return to New Jersey, Robinson has served as an assistant coach for Clayton High School (2013), Salem High School (2014) and most recently Millville High School (2015–16).
“For the longest time, coaching wasn’t at the top of my priority list,” Robinson said. “Coach Marvin Tucker was a middle school teacher of mine and brought me into Clayton, so he deserves a lot of credit. When I got to Millville, I really found my passion for coaching, because we were having success on the field, and I could help impact kids also off of it.”
The last three seasons saw Robinson coach with another Salem graduate, Dennis Thomas, who helped Millville to a 2016 Group V title. Robinson also has given his time to USA Football, which he has been a part of for four years. Now, as he prepares for his first season as head coach, Robinson looks back to a lot of mentors along the way.
“It’s not just one guy who helped me, I’ve been able to take bits and pieces from a bunch,” Robinson said. “Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops and Brett Venables, Clayton’s Marvin Tucker, my Salem defensive coordinator Kemp Carr, and Coach Thomas at Millville. They all have left an impression on me along the way.”
Paired in a very difficult WJFL American Division, Washington Township finished 4–6 a year ago, failing to record a division victory. With the likes of Shawnee, Cherokee, Hammonton and Rancocas Valley high schools on the schedule this season, it won’t be easy for the first-year head coach.
“Washington Township is a program that has always been one of the top teams in the state,” Robinson said. “The goal is to … take one game at a time, no matter the opponent.”
It may take some time to be consistently competitive in the American Division, but Robinson will look to help round the curve for the Minutemen.
“We’re trying to build a brand and culture here at Washington Township,” Robinson said. “No matter if it is the first game of the season, or a Group Title game, we’re going to put in the same effort each week and believe the approach we have set in front of us.”
The Minutemen open their season on Sept. 8 at Hammonton High School.
For more information regarding Robinson, or Washington Township football, check http://www.maxpreps.com/high-schools/washington-township-minutemen-(sewell,nj)/football/home.htm.