Head Volleyball Coach
Campus Phone: Ext. 5328
Campus Mail: P.O. Box 5074
Office: Rankin Hall 107
Campus or Site Location: Greeneville
Michael Robinson is the head of the Tusculum College volleyball program. Robinson took over the program in spring of 2008, becoming the seventh head coach in the history of volleyball at Tennessee’s oldest college.
It has been a magical run for Robinson in his first three years on the Tusculum sidelines. He has amassed a solid 65-33 in his TC career, giving him the third-highest victory tally in school history, while his .663 won-loss percentage is fourth in the Tusculum record book. In just three years, he has mentored six All-South Atlantic Conference honorees, three All-Region selections, six SAC All-Freshman picks and the program’s first AVCA First Team All-American in Caitlyn Dean in 2010.
His 2010 squad accounted for the best season since the Pioneers made the transition to the NCAA Division II level in 1998. Tusculum posted an impressive 25-7 worksheet, including a school record 16-2 mark in SAC play. TC tallied a 10-game winning streak and a stellar 10-1 record at home, including an eight-game winning trend at Pioneer Arena to end the season. Four Tusculum players garnered All-SAC recognition, including rookie setter Ashley Sarmiento, who was named Conference Freshman of the Year.
The Pioneers made a strong late-season run, winning their last five regular-season outings and won two more in the Food Lion SAC Tournament to punch its ticket for the championship match for the first-time ever. TC’s win in the SAC Tournament semifinal was monumental as the Pioneers rallied from two-set deficit to claim a 3-2 marathon win over Lincoln Memorial University.
The strong showing on the year led the Pioneers to a NCAA Tournament bid and their second straight trip to the national postseason.
Sarmiento was also named the Southeast Region Freshman of the Year, while Dean and middle-hitter Alyssa Raterman garnered All-Region accolades as well. Dean’s season was monumental as she established national records in defense, as she led the country with a NCAA II-best 7.1 digs per set.
For his efforts, Robinson was selected as co-South Atlantic Conference Coach of the Year, becoming the first Tusculum skipper to earn the honor.
Robinson’s first year at Tusculum was a successful one as the Pioneers posted a 22-11 record, while earning the program its first NCAA Division II regional ranking. He mentored one All-South Atlantic Conference performer (Katie Luebke), while two of his rookies were selected to the SAC All-Freshman Team (Carly Swisher, Peyton Colclough).
In his inaugural season as head coach, the Pioneers opened winning six of their first eight matches, including Robinson’s first-ever collegiate victory against Belmont Abbey College on Aug. 30, 2008. He led TC to a seven-match winning streak as the squad finished fourth in the conference.
He posted his second straight winning season for the Pioneers in 2009 as his squad went 18-15 as he guided Tusculum to the program’s first-ever NCAA II Tournament appearance. He mentored All-SAC honoree Gina Coffaro and SAC All-Freshman standouts, Sam Underwood and Bailee Price.
Prior to assuming the head coaching duties, Robinson served the previous three years as an assistant at Tusculum. From 2006-07, Robinson helped the program to a 48-20 record, including a 20-8 mark in the South Atlantic Conference. In 2006, TC posted a 23-10 showing, a 14-win improvement from the previous season. TC also posted a 9-5 SAC record to finish fourth in the league.
But it was in 2007 that the Pioneers showed the most improvement going 25-10, while establishing a new school record for SAC wins in a season (11). Tusculum went 11-3 in league play, while finishing second in the conference, its best ever finish since joining the SAC in 1998. TC ranked second in the nation in blocks per game and ninth in team hitting percentage.
That squad boasted the 2007 SAC Player of the Year in Vivian Lacy, who became the first Tusculum volleyball player to garner NCAA Division II All-America distinction. Lacy was named the SAC Player of the Year, while Alexis Rowles was tabbed the SAC Scholar Athlete for volleyball. On the 2007 squad alone, four players earned All-SAC recognition, including: Lacy, Kelsey Hayden, Katie Luebke and Mariana Rezende.
While at Tusculum, Robinson’s teams have excelled off the volleyball court, earning the American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award.
Robinson, a native of Green Mountain, N.C., came to the Greeneville campus after serving as head volleyball coach at T.C. Roberson High School in Asheville, N.C. in 2004.
Prior to 2004, Robinson coached six years at South Atlantic Conference member Mars Hill College. He served as a student assistant with the Lady Lions from 1998-2000 and as an assistant coach from 2001-03. During his tenure, Mars Hill boasted six All-Conference honorees, including 1998 SAC Player of the Year Nicole Silver and 2001 SAC Freshman of the Year Sarah Nash.
While at Mars Hill, he assisted with all operations of the volleyball program, including scouting, filming, weight training, conditioning and practice coordination.
The 1998 MHC squad posted a 32-6 overall record while capturing the South Atlantic Conference championship and the SAC Tournament title. The team tied for fifth in the NCAA Division II Southeast Region, while Silver led the nation in digs, averaging six per game.
Robinson is a member of the American Volleyball Coaches Association and is active within the organization, serving on the AVCA Assistant Coaches Committee.