LEWISTON, Idaho – Instilling family values in his team as part of his coaching philosophy, Lewis-Clark State College baseball coach Jeremiah Robbins will follow those values and resign at the end of the season to take over as coach at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore.
Robbins and his wife, Mareena, were both born and raised in Oregon. Robbins is from Winston, Ore., which is only nine miles from Roseburg. His five siblings and parents, along with his wife’s family, all live within 90 miles of Roseburg.
“To go back home and be near all of my family is something I could not pass up,” Robbins said. “This is the only job that would take me away from Lewiston. Anyone who knows me knows how important family is to me.”
Umpqua Community College announced in January it was bringing back baseball and track. Robbins said UCC has not had a baseball program since 1985, but will start competitive play in the fall of 2019. The timing will give Robbins a year to recruit a team and get the program in order. The Riverhawks compete in the Northwest Athletic Conference’s South Division.
Robbins is in his sixth year as the Warriors’ coach and has left a big stamp on the program. He posted a 232-58 record (.800 winning percentage) in his first five seasons. The 232 wins ranks second among NAIA programs during that time, an impressive feat considering LCSC does not play in postseason tournaments until the Avista NAIA World Series.
Even more impressive is that Robbins has led LCSC to the championship game of the Avista NAIA World Series in all five seasons, the first time a coach has accomplished that feat. After finishing second the first two seasons, Robbins has led the Warriors to three straight national championships.
“I would like to thank Jeremiah for continuing the Warrior tradition without missing a beat,” LCSC athletic director Brooke Cushman said. “It has been awesome to have him here. Obviously, he’s an outstanding coach, but he’s even a better person. It’s sad to see him go.”
Cushman said she will begin the search for Robbins’ replacement immediately.
Robbins said it was tough reaching the decision to leave LCSC.
“I was not actively seeking to leave Lewiston, but I was approached about this opportunity,” Robbins said. “After talking with my family, it was the right thing to do.”
Robbins has led LCSC to a 24-5 mark thus far this season and a No. 5 ranking in the NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 poll. His overall record at LCSC is 256-63, which places him second only to Ed Cheff for program wins.
Robbins has been named the ABCA/Diamond NAIA Baseball Coach of the Year three times. He also has been tabbed the ABCA’s West Region Coach of the Year four times and the American Baseball Coaches Association’s NAIA Coach of the Year twice.
The program’s 19 overall titles easily is tops in the NAIA as no other program has won more than four.
LCSC has had 138 players selected in the Major League draft and 16 players who have played in the big leagues. Last year, LCSC had a program record seven players selected in the draft and another sign as a free agent.
“The players have impacted my life more than they will ever know,” Robbins said. “The community welcomed my family and made it home for us. Additionally, the support from the administration and campus community has allowed the program to grow and build relationships that last a lifetime.
“And the administration team here can’t be matched. You probably won’t find anything like this anywhere else. Nothing has chased me away from here. With Gary (former athletic director Gary Picone) and now Brooke, things are only going to get better here. They have done an awesome job.”
Robbins came to LCSC from Western Oregon following the 2012 season. He led the Wolves to seven straight Great Northwest Athletic Conference titles. Robbins also played at Western Oregon where he earned all-conference honors as a catcher in 1998.
Robbins said he knows there isn’t a perfect time to make such an announcement but wanted to make it public now to give Cushman time to find a replacement. It also gives him a rare opportunity as a coach to say goodbyes. Most coaching changes involve the coach moving to the new destination right away
“This place means a lot to me,” Robbins said about LCSC. “It was a very tough decision to leave here.”
The LCSC baseball team had last weekend off and will return to play on Friday, the first of 18 scheduled straight games on the road. Because bad weather has caused LCSC to change its schedule this season, the Warriors have only two scheduled home games remaining. The Warriors will play Whitworth in single games on May 5 and 6, and then won’t be in action again until the Avista NAIA World Series, which runs May 25-June 1 at LCSC’s Harris Field.