Vicksburg basketball headed into a new era
Published 9:00 am Thursday, January 19, 2017
Almost every spring for the past dozen years or so, I would ask the same question of Vicksburg High basketball coach Dellie C. Robinson.
“So, I hear you’re retiring?”
Robinson would smile, chuckle, and say, “I’m thinking about it.”
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After a couple of rounds of that dance, it was obvious he wasn’t going anywhere and it became a running joke. There was always the talented group of freshmen coming through the ranks that he wanted to win a state title with, or a senior that he wanted to see finish their career.
In December Robinson told me that this definitely would be his last year. Knowing how he’d had second thoughts before, it seemed wise to wait before doing a big farewell story in the paper.
Now, however, it seems that Robinson really will retire. The 6-foot-5 basketball genius with the pastor’s heart and fury suffered an aneurysm in his heart during a game last week at Madison Central. He’s been in the hospital since, and with a long recovery ahead of him it’s likely that the coach who has won one state championship and more than 400 games at Vicksburg over the past 25 years — and nearly 700 in his career — has coached his last game.
Robinson has been down before. After his Gators lost the 2011 Class 6A championship game to Meridian, the look on his face as he watched the Wildcats receive their trophy was of a man who knew he’d missed his last opportunity for something great.
Three years later, with an entirely different cast, Robinson had gotten Vicksburg back to the state finals. They lost to an all-time great Callaway team, but Robinson never stopped trying to find a formula to beat them.
To borrow one of Robinson’s favorite phrases, there’s “no doubt about it” that he’ll do whatever he can to pull out a victory in his current situation.
Meanwhile, his Gators are soldiering on. Whether it’s a life and death situation or a sprained ankle, the season stops for no one. Vicksburg will play at Lanier on Friday and then host Germantown Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in the last game of the Red Carpet Classic.
It’ll be weird not seeing Robinson there. He’s been a fixture at Vicksburg for a generation. He’s made the program, and the town a better place.
No doubt about it.
Ernest Bowker is a sports writer for The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org