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BYU’s Nick Robinson Learned Valuable Lessons As Head Coach At SUU

Newly hired Brigham Young University basketball assistant coach Nick Robinson speaks at a press conference at the Marriott Center Annex in Provo on Thursday, April 25, 2019. Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

PROVO, Utah – BYU Basketball assistant coach Nick Robinson is enjoying his first year as an assistant on Mark Pope’s bench.

Prior to arriving at BYU, Robinson played for the Stanford Cardinal where he earned his Master’s in Sociology. Shortly after his playing days were over, Robinson went straight to the bench in collegiate coaching. Seven years later he became a Division I head coach.

Robinson was the head coach at Southern Utah University for four seasons. For the second time in Robinson’s coaching career, he will go up against the program he once led. Wednesday night at 7 p.m. on BYUtv and KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM, 1160 AM, and the KSL Newsradio app. The previous time coming last year while coaching for Seattle University.

“Coach (Todd) Simon has a team that is transfer-laden, along with some young guys, that are really athletic and they play hard,” said Robinson to KSL Sports. “They’ve got a lot of confidence right now coming off a big win at Nebraska and it’s the first time in 12 years that Southern Utah and BYU are playing against each other. They are excited about the opportunity as we are.”

In Robinson’s four years at Southern Utah from 2012-2016, he posted a record of 28-90. There were difficult times on the court, but that experienced helped him grow within the coaching profession.

“What a wonderful experience to be in Cedar City and part of the Southern Utah program,” Robinson said. “Learned a lot there as the primary decision-maker, the opportunity to build young men, to build teams for four years there. It was a great experience so really learned a lot and been able to take that to my two assistant coaching spots since then.”

BYU head coach Mark Pope hired Robinson to be one of his three assistants this past May. Robinson got to know Coach Pope while the two were coaching in the Southeastern Conference.

Pope was working with Mark Fox at Georgia, while Robinson was working with Trent Johnson at LSU. The two have known each other for a long time. Now working on Pope’s bench, Robinson is seeing firsthand the 24/7 relentless approach that Pope has made clear on how his program will operate.

“He is relentless,” Robinson said with a smile. “It’s absolutely true. It’s fantastic. Really enjoying the experience and opportunity to learn and grow, and the way his mind works is incredible.”

Robinson is the one “new” face on Pope’s bench. The other two assistants Cody Fueger and Chris Burgess both worked for Pope at Utah Valley University. But that hasn’t been an issue for the former SUU head man.

“Coach Fueger and I have known each other for 15-plus years,” Robinson said. “We were at Utah camps back in the day and Coach Burgess and I have been able to connect over the past five or six years. So there has been some familiarity. Whether it’s working with scheduling or recruiting we were in contact that way, so it wasn’t completely blind coming in.”

At BYU practices, you’ll see Robinson going through warmups led by strength and conditioning coach Erick Shork, and sometimes Robinson competes in team portions of practice as well. It’s an energetic atmosphere that Pope and his assistants like Robinson bring that has Cougar fans excited for the potential of this program going forward. But it’s all about getting better one day at a time.

Robinson continues to work with helping that improvement within the BYU program by drawing back to the valuable lessons he learned as a head man for the T-Birds.

BYU vs. Southern Utah

Location: Marriott Center

TV: BYUtv

Radio: KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM/1160 AM

Stream: KSLnewsradio.com

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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