John Robinson didn’t like retirement.
So the former Oregon player and coach is returning to college football after 15 years away from the sideline. The 83-year old was hired by LSU coach Ed Orgeron as a special consultant working with “daily planning of practice, personnel and game planning,” according to the school.
“I’m supposed to go around and figure out what’s wrong,” Robinson said during an interview from his home in Encinitas, Calif., on Monday. “I wanted to get back in. Retiring is the most overrated thing in the world. It really is. You wind up doing stuff that you don’t care much about. This is one more adventure, so we will go off into the wild again.”
Robinson’s wife, Beverly, is from New Orleans and graduated from LSU.
“Her mom still lives there so we thought ‘Hey’, Ed Orgeron is a good friend so lets go down and be part of the program,” Robinson said. “Baton Rouge is a lot like Eugene, it is green and has a major university and it rains a lot. There are a lot of similarities.”
Robinson played at Oregon from 1955-57 before beginning his coaching career as an assistant with the Ducks from 1960-71.
“I lived in Eugene a long time and raised a family there,” he recalled.
Robinson left the Ducks to become offensive coordinator at USC under John McKay, who was an assistant at Oregon when Robinson played at the school. McKay left to coach the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1976 and Robinson was elevated to head coach.
Robinson led the Trojans to three Pac-10 championships and a national title in 1978 before leaving to coach the Los Angeles Rams from 1983-91 where he reached two NFC Championship games while setting a franchise record with 79 wins. He returned to USC for a second stint as coach from 1993-97 and won two more conference championships.
Robinson went 104-35-4 during a total of 12 years at USC, including four Rose Bowl victories. His last head coaching position was at UNLV from 1999-2004 while also serving as athletic director at the school.
Robinson was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009.
“I couldn’t get a job doing anything else, so I stayed in coaching and it was fun,” he joked.