WORDEN — Randy Robinson enjoys reclamation projects.
The longtime coaching veteran has found success at every one of his stops — first at Whitehall, then Red Lodge and most recently at Roundup, where he turned around a girls basketball program that had won just five games in the five years prior to his arrival.
Now, Robinson, the son of legendary Class C basketball coach Charlie Robinson, is taking over the Huntley Project boys program, Huntley Project athletic director Guy Croy told MTN Sports. The Red Devils were just 6-13 last season, ending their season with two losses at the District 4B tournament.
“They haven’t been in (the Southern B divisional tournament) in four years,” Robinson said. “I’ll be their third coach in four years. I just think the experience with my three previous jobs in flux, that has prepared me for the bumps in the road ahead. Huntley should be, most years, winning trophies and advancing in tournament play.”
“My expectation going in is to place top three at districts every season and advance to divisionals,” Robinson added. “I’ve never set my expectations that high, but I want that challenge and I’m looking forward to it.”
A former standout player at Kremlin-Gildford, Robinson has spent his entire coaching career — save for one season when he was an assistant on Steve Keller’s staff at Montana Western — in the Southern B. He got his start coaching the Whitehall boys in 2000 and immediately advanced to the divisional tournament. The Trojans twice advanced to the Class B state tournament during Robinson’s tenure.
After one season at Western, Robinson took over the boys program at Red Lodge, leading the Rams to back-to-back divisional tournaments before moving to Roundup. He coached the Panther girls for four seasons, reaching the divisional tournament in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. Robinson did not coach during the 2017-18 season.
“With that many years experience, all in the Southern B, I feel it’s a great asset,” Robinson said. “I have a lot of knowledge about our district and division. I see that giving me a jumpstart coming into my first year at Huntley — overall coaching experience, but specifically the Southern B.”
Robinson now takes over a Huntley Project program that hasn’t reached the divisional tournament since 2014 under then-coach Mark Branger. The Red Devils won the Southern B divisional title that season and advanced to the semifinal round of the state tournament before settling for a fourth-place finish.
“I’ve been passionate about my coaching career over the past 17, 18 years, but this is the highest my excitement has been, looking forward into this opportunity to coaching the boys basketball team at Huntley Project,” said Robinson, who will continue to live and work in Roundup, where he’s the school and community librarian.
“Huntley’s been a place that I have had my eye on most of my career,” he added. “It’s a school district with tradition and competitive varsity sports across the board. It’s a place, their philosophy and mine are on the same page: competitive, win trophies and advance in tournament play, so I see us as a perfect match.”
Robinson graduated from Kremlin-Gildford High School (now North Star) in 1994, where he played for his dad. The elder Robinson coached Class C basketball in Montana for 44 years, amassing 869 career wins, according to the Montana Coaches Association. Charlie Robinson passed in 2014 at the age of 68.
“The biggest things I learned from my dad who coached 44 years at the Class C level, you have to teach kids to play fundamentally sound, accept their roles, understand half-court execution and have a high basketball IQ, play with a passion,” Randy Robinson said. “If you can get kids to do those things, you’re going to be competitive most years, even if you’re going against programs that have more talent.”