When Derek Robbins began attending basketball games at La Sierra University 15 years ago, the school’s sports program had a somewhat lower profile.
Back then, mobile spectator stands were rolled from the soccer field into the Alumni Pavilion to accommodate perhaps 20 basketball fans. Robbins, who was coaching Amateur Athletic Union youth basketball in Corona at the time, came to La Sierra’s games to cheer on La Sierra student players who had worked with his AAU teams. He didn’t know that a few years later he would become a key part of the rapid growth of the university’s Golden Eagles sports program.
Robbins has served as head men’s basketball coach since October 2008, and for the past two seasons under his leadership, the Golden Eagles have won the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference title. In March, Robbins’ PCAC peer coaches unanimously voted him Coach of the Year while naming Golden Eagles 6’6” forward Kenny Penn Most Valuable Player.
Athletic Director Javier Krumm noted Robbins’ dedication. “Derek is a Christian leader, a coach who cares for his athletes and follows their educational progress, and who also cares about their personal lives,” he said.
“I’m just thankful [God] has blessed me with La Sierra,” said Robbins. “I had semiretired from coaching and this put the fire back in me.” His faith is an integral part of his life, including in his work as head coach. The team, which functions like a family, regularly prays for teammates, their family members and friends who are grappling with life’s issues.
Says Robbins, “at the end of the day I want the guys to know that through God who strengthens us, anything is possible.”