JOLIET — Rob Robinson has been involved with the Joliet football program in some capacity for 17 years, whether that be junior high or high school.
During that time both his sons wore the J-Hawk gear, and now it’s come full circle as Rob’s youngest son Brett is on staff calling special teams and helping his dad run the defense.
“You've got to try to get the best out of them and I just tell Brett, 'Five years ago you were one of those guys. You were one of them we were trying to get it out of,'“ Rob said. "He's learning and doing a really good job. He's more patient than I thought he was going to be, which is great. And I think he's really enjoying it."
“It's been really good being able to watch film together. I live 500 feet from him, so it's been easy to watch film together. I think we have really good continuity," Brett said.
It can be difficult to separate the player-coach and father-son relationships, but Rob did his best to do so when they left the football field. Between the lines, though, he was all business.
“I didn't really think about being a dad when I was coaching. You're into the game and trying to figure out what you need to do with everybody, so you kind of lose track of your kid. You see it and you're proud of them when they make good plays, but I didn't get into that just watching them," Rob said. "We talk football, but it was more about scheme. I tried to keep it away from home because it can get too complicated."
“It was kind of a 24/7 type deal. The coaching never stopped whether it was after practice or 8 o'clock in the morning before I'd go to school. He'd watch film at night and was always picking something up," Brett said.
Clearly Rob’s mentality has worn off on Brett. There are times when Rob is busy talking with other members off the staff and will have Brett signal in a call, and it’s usually exactly as Rob would have done.
“I think he’s ingrained so much of his mentality into me that I think just about the same way,” Brett said with a laugh.
Brett now completes the family coaching tree, so to speak, as his older brother Michael has coached the Columbus boys basketball team for a handful of years.
“There's been a couple of times I've called Michael and asked him questions," Brett said. "He's got more coaching experience than me. It's kind of cool we can lean on each other and ask each other questions. Just a great group to learn from between my dad and my brother."
Joliet’s been pretty fortunate to have Rob around this long. Now they might be stuck with Brett, too.