Grant Robbins had his career lined up well at Memphis over the last 11 years. Not only was he coaching at his alma mater, but it was also his hometown.
However, when a job with K-State men’s golf opened up, Robbins said he couldn’t help but to pay attention to the possibility of joining the program.
“I had the unique opportunity to coach at my alma mater, which was a great opportunity and something not a whole lot of people get the chance to do,” Robbins said. “I think was just at the point in my career where I was ready for a change, and ready for a new challenge. The opportunity here at K-State became open and with every thing going on – not just the golf program, but within the athletic department, and the university as a whole – it was a good chance for me to move.”
After coaching stops at UNC Wilmington and Memphis, Robbins replaces veteran coach Tim Norris, who recently completed his 17th season at K-State.
From 1991-94, Robbins was a four-year letterwinner in the Memphis program and won all-conference honors during his final three seasons. He then spent three years on professional tours before pursuing a coaching career in 1997.
Robbins spent two seasons at Penn State before taking the head-coaching job at UNC Wilmington in 1999.
Despite leading UNC Wilmington to its first NCAA Regional appearance in 2003, Robbins’ sustained his greatest head coaching success at Memphis.
Five of his teams reached regional competition, including a national championship berth in 2012. He was also named Conference USA Coach of the Year in 2008 and 2012.
Having never advanced past regional competition, K-State men’s golf has yet to establish itself in the national spotlight. With Robbins’ roots in program development, a change in reputation could be in order.
“It’s a matter of instilling the right culture and getting the guys to buy into the right work ethic,” Robbins said. “Then, you have to recruit good players on top of that. It’s a building process. If you build the proper foundation and start to get better every year, then you can hopefully compete for championships.”
Before focusing on NCAA competition, the Wildcats must establish themselves as contender in the Big 12. No team has every finished higher than third in the program’s 80-year history.
“I see K-State five years from now being a top 25 type program, that can advance to the national championship,” Robbins said. “I think this is a program that should be in NCAA Regionals every year, and I think that when you have a program that is good enough to be in regionals every year, you have a program that is good enough to advance to nationals.”
While Robbins’ goals are lofty, his plan is manageable.
“Our first step is to get to where we’re eligible for regionals every year,” Robbins said. “Then the next step after that is get to a team that can advance to nationals, which is the top 30. Then, the next step is to get a team that can advance to the match play portion, which is the top eight. Once you get to that part, then you’re competing for a national championship – that’s our ultimate goal. But, we have a ways to go; we have to focus on the process and make some strides to get better this year. But, that’s where I see us in the future.”