Amad Robinson knows the expectations of Wilson High School football.
He’s a former player for the Rams and a Wilson graduate. He’s been a teacher at Wilson and also an assistant coach.
Now, Robinson is Wilson’s next head football coach.
“This is extremely, extremely special,” Robinson said after the confirmation was made official Friday. “To have this opportunity — I’m almost at a loss for words. It’s a privilege and a huge opportunity and I’m not going to let this community down.”
Robinson is the fifth coach in Wilson’s illustrious football history.
He played alongside Marcus Trufant — the Wilson grad who went on to play at Washington State University and the Seattle Seahawks.
“He has a passion for football and a passion for people,” Wilson athletic director John Portenier said. “He’s got really good people skills and relates well to kids and I think he’s going to get maximum effort out of them and bring a ton of energy.”
He takes over for Don Clegg, the 68-year-old former coach who retired after 29 seasons with a career record of 167-123, nine state playoff appearances and an induction into the Washington State Football Coaches Hall of Fame. Clegg coached five players who went on to play in the NFL, including the Trufant brothers: Isaiah, Marcus and Desmond.
Robinson, 36, was a quarterback and defensive back on Clegg’s best team, when Wilson reached the state title game in 1998. He accumulated more than 1,000 yards in passing and rushing yards that year on the highest-scoring offense in the state.
Robinson was offered a scholarship to play at Portland State University, where he also played a year of basketball, and was a captain his senior year. He now teaches special education at Wilson and has been the football team’s offensive coordinator the past three seasons.
“He deserves this opportunity,” said Portenier, who was the defensive coordinator on that 1998 team that lost to Pasco in the state championship game. “He’s got his own vision for the program and he’s going to take it in a different direction. It’s his program now.”
That direction, Portenier said, will include a more up-tempo pace, faster practices and the kind of energy he saw from Robinson as their two-way starter almost 20 years ago.
But Robinson said he hopes to take many of the traits that made Clegg a pillar in the Wilson community in how he broke down film and some of the blocking schemes will be the same, too.
“You’ll see some of the same stuff, especially since I was able to put a little bit of my stamp on the offense,” Robinson said. “But some of it will be different looks. I’ll still call the plays for the first few years and then I plan on pulling back a little bit and letting someone else get more involved.”
He said he’s already heard from at least three people who have committed to be assistant coaches.
As far as the longevity the Wilson community has come to expect out of its football coach, Robinson said he’s in this for the long haul, too.
“At least half as long as Coach Clegg,” he laughed.
“This is a place where people come and they like it and they stay,” Robinson said. “I’m excited and we’re ready to hit the ground running. Expect a fast, physical, accountable, responsible outfit next year.”
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677