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J Robinson Fired As Gophers Wrestling Coach over Xanax Use On The Team

September 8th, 2016 by Tom

J Robinson

University of Minnesota Athletic Director Mark Coyle announced Wednesday that J Robinson has been fired as wrestling coach.

Robinson was terminated, effective immediately. Acting head coach Brandon Eggum is taking over the program in the interim.

Robinson led the Gophers to three national championships and would’ve entered his 30th season as the program’s coach. He was put on administrative leave earlier this year while the school investigated the use and sale of Xanax among wrestlers on the team.

Robinson told WCCO’s Mike Max that he started to get suspicious, reported it to university officials and was told to test the entire team. He said the school would not pay for the testing. He also said he was hoping to continue as wrestling coach when the investigation was complete.

Robinson told his athletes that if they confessed to be involved with drugs, they could turn in the pills for amnesty. A student athlete who came forward says his coach tried to cover it up by making the team turn in the drugs they had. And, he alleges, the coach sat on the information for up to a month and a half, until the wrestling season was over.

A search warrant was executed at the coach’s office. With it, police say they found essays that team members wrote about getting caught and what they learned from it.

One included this statement: “I should have known I would get caught eventually and that my teammates could have gotten in serious trouble or I could have even killed someone if they overdosed.”

Coyle issued a letter to Robinson on Wednesday, notifying him of the immediate dismissal.

The letter states Robinson engaged in multiple acts of serious misconduct. Robinson also repeatedly failed to answer key questions during the course of the Xanax investigation.

The letter states Robinson didn’t disclose information about the drug-related activity, including sales by current members of the team. It also states he disposed of the drugs that were turned over to him by wrestlers, directly impacting the investigation. Coyle said Robinson promised amnesty and confidentiality to wrestlers who turned in drugs, which Robinson didn’t have authorization to do.

According to the letter, Robinson did not refute the findings of the investigation.

“I’m terminating coach Robinson’s contract because he was not forthcoming with his superiors while reporting his suspicions about selling and abusing prescription medication. While he did report drug suspicions, he chose not to share many other important details about what he knew,” Coyle said. “Furthermore, he did not fully cooperate with our investigation into the matter. He did not meet with us for interviews promptly and when he did, he did not answer some of our most critical questions.”

Coyle said he called Robinson twice to let him know if his dismissal, but Robinson didn’t answer and Coyle couldn’t leave a voicemail because his message box was full. He sent Robinson a text, email and got no response.

Coyle said Robinson’s termination was for cause and there was no financial settlement.

The Associated Press left messages for Robinson’s agent and attorney seeking comment.

“I do not intend to address each inaccuracy and/or omission in the report because there are far too many,” Robinson wrote to the university in a response provided by school officials. “For now, suffice it to say that the report sacrifices accuracy to create a narrative to support a pre-determined outcome to find fault with me and exculpate the university and senior employees in the athletic department.”

James C.W. Bock, an attorney and agent for Robinson, said in May that his client did comply with university regulations and informed his superiors, including former interim athletic director Beth Goetz, of the drug issues within his team.

No criminal charges were filed by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office in the case. Xanax is not an illegal drug, and it is not a banned substance by the NCAA.

The Beauty Of It – Minnesota Wrestling

June 14th, 2014 by Tom

Awesome wrestling video featuring the Minnesota Gophers wrestling team. Beautifully put together and one every wrestler should see.

Tiebreaker Lifts Iowa Over Minnesota, 16-15

January 27th, 2013 by Tom

In front of crowd of nearly nine thousand fans, Minnesota and Iowa split the dual, winning five bouts apiece, for a 15-15 tie. The deciding factor came down to a factor of tiebreaker criteria, in which case the Hawkeyes came out ahead on the third rule, match points (41-33). The loss is the second of the season for the Gophers who drop to 11-2, 5-1 B1G. Iowa improves to 15-1, 5-0 B1G.

The Hawkeyes excelled in the lower weights to gain a large lead before intermission., Dylan Ness, at 149 lbs. was the only Gopher in the first half of the lineup to add points to the team total by defeating unranked Michael Kelly by an 8-2 decision. However, the Gophers managed to keep bonus points at bay and went into intermission trailing 3-12.

Cody Yohn, faced Nick Moore in the 165-pound weight class to start the match after break. A slow start cost Yohn valuable points and resulted in a loss for the redshirt senior. Yohn fell 8-2 but not before marking a late reversal to prevent the major.

Once again, it was Minnesota's top-weighted wrestlers who brought the spirit back into the crowd and turned the momentum around., Logan StorleyKevin SteinhausScott Schiller, and, Tony Nelson, the final four wrestlers of the night, each won their respective bouts to bring the score back to a tie.

At 174 lbs., Storley edged Mike Evans in a tightly contested match, winning by a score of 4-3. Steinhaus followed at 184 lbs. and took care of opponent Ethen Lofthouse with a 6-3 victory. Schiller faced Nathan Burak in the 197-pound weight class. After scoring only an escape apiece, the match went into overtime where Schiller came up with the takedown for the sudden victory. Nelson closed out the match with a 2-1 victory over Bobby Telford. Each wrestler also gained a point during regulation for escapes but Nelson accumulated 1:40 of riding time for the extra point and the win.

Minnesota now looks ahead to its final home dual of the season which will take place next Sunday at 11 a.m. against Michigan State. The match will also serve as senior day for the Gophers' graduating class.


Nine Gophers Receive Individual Rankings by Amateur Wrestling News

October 11th, 2012 by Tom

 Minnesota boasts talent in nine of 10 weight class selections

Minnesota Wrestling is in for another great season and Amateur Wrestling News agrees. The publication has listed many Gophers among the nation's best, releasing its 2012-13 Preseason Division I College Individual Rankings. Someone from Minnesota has been named one to watch in nine of the 10 weight classes of competition. Only one Gopher is ranked outside the top 10 while two wrestlers took the top spot.

David Thorn, is tabbed at No. 13 in the 125 class. Thorn will drop down to step in for four-time All-American, Zach Sanders, who graduated last May. Thorn competed at 133 last season for a 14-2 overall record.

Brothers Chris and, Nick Dardanes, each made the top 10 in their respective weight classes. After recording a 25-12 record and finishing fourth at 133 lbs. at the NCAA National Championship, Chris is picked for the same finish this year. Nick is ranked at No. 7 in the 141 pound weight class after a 22-10 campaign last fall.

As the first of two wrestlers claiming the preseason top spot, Dylan Ness, ranks first in the 149 class. In his freshman year with the Gophers, Ness went 24-9 and surprised many by charging through to the NCAA Championship final where he finished runner-up.

Senior, Cody Yohn, and sophomore, Logan Storley, are also expected to continue last year's successes. Yohn, who finished 2011-12 with a 21-11 record, is dubbed No. 9 among all 165-pounders. Storley weighed in at No. 4 among the 174 lb. weight class. Last season, Storley worked his way to a 25-9 record and a sixth place finish at nationals. He also earned Minnesota's Most Exciting Wrestler award after pulling off multiple upsets and sudden victories, many over ranked opponents.

2012 Big Ten Champion, Kevin Steinhaus, is back at 184 for his junior season with the Gophers and is picked as the No. 4 wrestler after a season where he went 34-6, including a 21-match win streak and a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Tournament.

Filling the void for the graduated, Sonny YohnScott Schiller, claims the No. 10 sport among the 197 weight class. Schiller competed primarily in open tournaments last year, posting three pins, seven major decisions, and two technical falls en route to a 26-4 finish.

Rounding out the preseason picks in 2012 National Champion Tony Nelson. Nelson, who also pulled in the 2012 Big Ten title, is poised to remain the dominant heavyweight wrestler in the nation. Nelson strung together a near-perfect 32-2 record, culminating in the defeat of 2011 National Champion Zach Rey of Lehigh in the NCAA final match. He was named Male Athlete of the Year for a season that boasted seven pins, two major decisions, and a 25-match winning streak.

For full rankings by Amateur Wrestling News, click, here.

The Gophers begin their quest for a National Championship Team title on Nov. 9. Minnesota hosts Hofstra at 7:00 p.m. CT in the Sports Pavilion.

Minnesota Gophers Wrestling: Public Practice [video]

June 28th, 2012 by Tom

NCAA: Olympian/U of Minnesota’s Deitchler Ruled Ineligible For Season

January 14th, 2010 by Tom

University of Minnesota freshman wrestler and former Olympian, Jake Deitchler has been ruled ineligible by the NCAA for the 2009-10 academic year.

The University of Minnesota received initial notice in September and appealed the ruling hoping for a review of the situation. Deitchler has not competed for the Gophers this season, while awaiting the results of the final appeal. Deitchler's eligibility will be reinstated under the conditions that he is withheld from competition for the 2009-10 academic year, forfeit a year of eligibility and repay the $4,000 prize money he received.

A 2008 graduate of Anoka High School and an Anoka, Minn. native, Deitchler represented the United States at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Following the Olympics, Deitchler spent the 2008-09 academic year training and competing full-time with USA Wrestling at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

"In the NCAA's ongoing effort to promote student-athlete welfare I do not think the NCAA is following or supporting their own ideology. The NCAA has handed a very young student athlete an overly harsh penalty, "head wrestling coach J Robinson said. "The punishment is quite severe and is a three part penalty. First; Deitchler must sit out a year, second he will lose one of his four years of eligibility, and third he must repay the money he received.

I understand that there needs to be a penalty, Robinson said but to deny a season of competition, take away an entire year of eligibility plus repay the money is excessive. People make mistakes, and as an 18 year-old kid who just represented his country in the Olympic Games and got lost in the moment I don't think this decision is in the best interest of the athlete, the NCAA, or the Olympic movement."

Robinson went on to add, "We had a very similar situation at Minnesota a few years ago where an athlete took money after the Olympics, in this case more money $6,000. The penalty the NCAA imposed was that the student athlete had to sit out two weeks and repay the money. That same year, this student athlete was eligible to compete in the NCAA Championships and became an NCAA All-American."

Deitchler will remain on the team and participate in all team practices, but cannot compete in 2009-10 for the University of Minnesota in any NCAA sanctioned events.

This is bigger than Jake Deitchler and I think it hurts our Olympic movement by setting a bad precedence. Robinson hopes that the NCAA will review and reverse their decision in the spirit of student athlete welfare and what best for a young student athlete that got caught up in the excitement of the Olympic Games while representing his country.

Robinson also said that Mario Mason has been reinstated and will resume competition with the team. Mason had been suspended indefinitely for violation of team rules, causing him to miss the Southern Scuffle and the Iowa State Dual.

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A Detour Home: Ryland Geiger Leaves Gophers for Community Col in Oregon

October 31st, 2009 by Tom

When news surfaced in September that Ryland Geiger was leaving the University of Minnesota, it was more than just a small blip on the radar for the Gopher faithful.

The 19-year-old Geiger, who was one of the nation's top recruits from the Class of 2008, was expected to make an immediate impact at 197 pounds for a young and talented Gopher team looking to get back to the top of the college wrestling world after coming off its worst NCAA finish (14th) since 1996.

Great expectations had been placed on the broad shoulders of Geiger after a prep career that saw him capture two Oregon (OSAA) state titles and win titles at prestigious high school events such as NHSCA Nationals, Cadet Nationals, and Junior Nationals. He was ranked No. 1 in the country at 189 pounds by InterMat.

Last season, as a redshirt for the Gophers, Geiger compiled a 19-3 record while competing in open tournaments. In the spring, Geiger won both the FILA Junior Nationals and FILA World Team Trials in freestyle to earn a spot on the Junior World Team. Geiger, though, chose not to compete at the Junior World Championships in Ankara, Turkey in August, and instead opted to stay in Minneapolis and focus on his summer term courses at Minnesota.

Toward the end of summer, Geiger made the decision to leave Minnesota and head back home to wrestle at Clackamas Community College in Oregon. He says it was "a little bit of everything "that caused him to leave Minnesota, but "mostly academics."

"Everybody is going to be a little bitter that I left Minnesota, "said Geiger. "I'm bitter. They're bitter. It sucks that I had to leave, but I'm pretty sure we ended things on a good note."

Geiger's journey over the past 10 years could be best described as nomadic. His father, David, is in the military. Geiger grew up in Virginia, moved to Korea in middle school, spent his freshman year in the Philippines, moved back to the U.S. for his sophomore year and attended Blair Academy in New Jersey, and then moved to Oregon for his final two years of high school.

In high school, Geiger was recruited by many of the nation's top college wrestling programs. He chose Minnesota over Lehigh, Arizona State, and Oregon State because of the combination of coaches, workout partners, facilities, and the fact that his best friend from his days at Blair Academy, Mario Mason, was also going to be wrestling for the Gophers.

Then-Minnesota head assistant coach Marty Morgan played a key role in recruiting Geiger to Minnesota. Geiger expected Morgan to not only be one of his coaches, but also serve as a key training partner throughout his college wrestling career. But shortly before the college wrestling season began, Morgan resigned as the head assistant coach of the Gophers to train current UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar.

"I was pretty shocked, "said Geiger of Morgan's resignation. "We all had no idea that he was leaving. It was our understanding that he was going to be the coach. It was kind of terrible because he left and he has all that knowledge. It's good for him. I can't be mad at the guy. He's helping out probably the baddest man alive right now."

Continue Reading at InterMat

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J Robinson Goes To Iraq To Train, Thank Troops

October 31st, 2009 by WrestlingPod

Coach J Robinson teaching troops wrestling moves.

COB BASRA, Iraq - Who is Coach J Robinson?

Robinson has had an illustrious career as an Army Ranger during the Vietnam War, an Olympic wrestler and one of the greatest coaches in University of Minnesota history.

Robinson demonstrated his bravery by telling a roomful of military policemen how he listens to Britney Spears and Lady Gaga to get motivated.

Robinson is also caring. He flew to Iraq recently to motivate the troops and when he learned the government wasn't going to pay his way, he was perfectly willing to fly halfway around world on his own dime.

All to offer a simple "Thank you."

"When the chaplain called and asked if I could come, I thought it was the least I could do, "said Robinson, who was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2005. "I was sitting at home, and you know what that's like. It's pretty good. Sometimes you don't realize that until you leave."

Robinson visited troops all over Contingency Operating Base Basra, at each stop encouraging Soldiers and telling them to embrace their deployment as a learning experience.

"The lessons you learn in Iraq will follow you for the rest of your lives, "said Robinson, who attended Airborne, Jungle Warfare and Ranger school before deploying to Vietnam. "I'm more proud to be a Ranger than I am being an Olympian, because the lessons I learned there I've used for the rest of life."

Robinson, a member of the 1972 Olympic wrestling team, addressed Soldiers on the importance of perspective, concentration, and the power of choice and striving for excellence in everything they do.

In addition, Robinson told the Soldiers that someday they would be able to look back at their time in Iraq and be proud of the people they had helped, even those they had not known they helped.

"One thing you learn as a coach, you do a lot of stuff and you touch a lot of people, and you might never see it, "said Robinson. "You're not always going to get that pat on the back."

Robinson's busy schedule included wrestling classes with the 34th Military Police Company. The coach of three team national titles instructed the MP's on hand placement and balance; "the fundamentals, "said the seven-time Big Ten Coach of the Year.

"It's part of his striving for excellence, "said Lt. Col. Jeffery Johnson, Inspector General for the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division and an alumnus of the U of M. "A, giving thanks from the state of Minnesota, and B, helping the MP's strive for excellence."

While Robinson could only visit for a few days, his visit was appreciated up to the highest levels.

"Soldiers want to know three things: to know that their folks back home are alright, that life back home is going normally, and that folks back home are thinking of them, "said Brig. Gen. David Eliciero, deputy commanding general of the 34th Inf. Div., and U of M Class of 1980. "I think this accomplishes that."

So who is Coach J Robinson? A Ranger? An Olympian? A Hall of Fame wrestling coach?

For a while in COB Basra, the answer was simple: a legend, an old Soldier, a man willing to come back out to the front to show his gratitude to the Soldiers personally.

"For me, I have to come out here to say thanks, "said Robinson.

Pictures and video here.

Nord named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week

December 28th, 2008 by Tom

University of Minnesota Sports Information

University of Minnesota sophomore Joe Nord was named the Big Ten Wrestler of the Week today following an upset victory over Nebraska's No. 12 Tucker Lane this weekend. Nord defeated Lane with a 6-2 decision in heavyweight bout of the Gophers' 21-18 loss to No. 3 Nebraska on Sunday afternoon in Lincoln, Neb.

Nord rallied from a 1-0 deficit with a reversal in the opening seconds of the third period. A nearfall later in the final stanza helped the sophomore to gain the 6-2 victory. With the win, Nord improves his record to 8-2 this season. The Waconia, Minn. native has been splitting time with 18th-ranked teammate Ben Berhow at the heavyweight slot for the Gophers this season.

This week's laurel marks the second time this season a Gopher has earned the weekly accolade. Mike Thorn was named the conference's Wrestler of the Week on Nov. 25.

Nord and the Gophers open their home schedule when they welcome perennial power Oklahoma State to the Sports Pavilion on New Year's Day. Tickets still remain for Minnesota's 2:00 pm. dual with the No. 13 Cowboys and can be purchased by calling 1-800-U-GOPHER or by contacting the Gopher Ticket Office at 612-624-8080.

2008 Big Ten Wrestling Championship Tickets Go On Sale Monday

December 16th, 2007 by Tom

By Ryan Maus

Tickets for the 2008 Big Ten Wrestling Championships, to be held at the University of Minnesota's Williams Arena March 8 and 9, will go on sale at 9 a.m. Monday, Dec. 17. All-session tickets are $30 and may be purchased through gophersports.com, in person at the Minnesota athletics ticket office in Mariucci Arena or by calling 1-800-U-GOPHER or 612-624-8080.

Big Ten Championship all-session tickets will also be available for sale at all Minnesota home wrestling meets this season.

"We're extremely excited to be hosting the Big Ten Championships this year," said J Robinson, head coach of the defending national champion Gophers. "This event always features some of the best collegiate wrestling in the country and we expect to get a lot of support from wrestling fans around the Upper Midwest."

The 2008 Big Ten Wrestling Championships will feature a three-session format, with the Session 1 preliminary matches beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 8. Session 2 will get underway at 6 p.m. that same day, and the Session 3 championship matches will start at noon on Sunday, March 9. Doors to Williams Arena open approximately one hour prior to the beginning of each session.

Sessions 1 and 2 will feature four mats of action, while Session 3 will have live wrestling on three mats. The Williams Arena court will be extended to accommodate the four-mat setup.

"The Big Ten Championships will showcase the very finest that college wrestling has to offer," said Marc Ryan, Minnesota associate athletics director. "We fully expect to have sellout crowds both days and that will create an electric atmosphere inside Williams Arena."

The Big Ten Network is currently scheduled to provide live television coverage of Sunday's conference finals. The BTN is currently available in Minnesota on DirecTV (channel 220) and Dish Network (channel 439).

Williams Arena has not played host to the Big Ten Championships since 1997, a year that saw Robinson's Gophers finish in second place to the Iowa Hawkeyes. Since that year, Minnesota has dominated the Big Ten and established itself as one of the most dominant teams in the country. The Gophers have won six Big Ten team titles in the last nine seasons and crowned a Big Ten-best 27 individual champions during that span.

At the 2007 Big Ten Championships, hosted by Michigan State in East Lansing, the Gophers put on an utterly dominating performance. Minnesota's four individual champions "Jayson Ness (125 pounds), Dustin Schlatter (149), C.P. Schlatter (157) and Cole Konrad (Hwt.) "paved the way for a whopping 156 team points and a 55.5-point margin of victory over runner-up Wisconsin. Minnesota's team score was the highest at the Big Ten Championships since the 2002 team earned 174 points.

Two weeks later, the Gophers would go on to win their third national title in the past seven years.

The 2007 season also marked the second time in school history that the Gophers have won consecutive conference championships (Minnesota also won the 2006 Championships at Indiana), with the only other occurrence coming when they won three straight from 2001-03. Minnesota has finished first or second at the Big Ten Championships nine straight seasons and has placed in the top three each of the past 11 years.

Single-session tickets, if available, will not go on sale until Monday, March 3. For more information on the 2008 Big Ten Wrestling Championships, please call 1-800-U-GOPHER, 612-624-8080 or log on to gophersports.com.