Tony Robie Named Virginia Tech's Head Coach
Virginia Tech did not have to look too far to find the next leader of its wrestling program. The Hokies announced on Tuesday that they've removed the interim tag from Tony Robie and made him VT's full-time head coach.
A longtime assistant for the Hokies, Robie was named the team's interim head coach in February when Kevin Dresser left Blacksburg, Virginia, after 11 seasons to become Iowa State's head coach. Robie, who was an NCAA finalist for Edinboro, has been at Virginia Tech since Dresser's first year as coach in 2006. During Robie's time at Virginia Tech, the Hokies have managed top 10 finishes on five different occasions, including a trophy finish (fourth) and a sixth-place finish this year.
The Hokies currently have Mike Zadick and Derek St. John on staff as assistant coaches. There is no word at this point if they will remain in Blacksburg or not. Virginia Tech returns a strong nucleus of four All-Americans next year: Solomon Chishko, David McFadden, Zach Epperly, and Jared Haught. Along with the return of Zack Zavatsky and a strong recruiting class, the Hokies will likely be in the running for another top 10 finish next year.
Virginia Tech sent out the following Press Release:
BLACKSBURG, VA -- Director of Athletics Whit Babcock announced Tuesday that Tony Robie has been promoted to head wrestling coach at Virginia Tech after serving as interim head coach since February. Robie led the Hokies to the team title at the ACC Championship and a sixth-place finish at the 2017 NCAA Championships in St. Louis -- Tech's fifth-straight top-10 finish at nationals.
Robie has been an integral member of the Virginia Tech wrestling staff for 11 seasons, serving as associate head coach since joining the Hokies in 2006 before assuming interim head coach duties for the ACC and NCAA Championships this season. A former head coach at Binghamton University, Robie was a two-time All-America selection and an NCAA runner-up as a student-athlete at Edinboro University. His resume also includes assistant coaching tenures at Michigan, West Virginia and his alma mater.
"We are proud that Tony Robie will continue to lead our wrestling program at Virginia Tech," Babcock said. "Tony has been loyal to Virginia Tech over the years and is respected by our student-athletes, as well as his peers in the wrestling community across the nation. He has done a very good job as our interim head coach, and we recognize the role he played over the past 11 years in building our program into a nationally elite one. We aspire to keep it that way and elevate it even further. Tony has proven his meddle as a leader, a recruiter and a teacher who represents all that we stand for at Virginia Tech. We looked at a number of candidates and Tony rose to the occasion. We have great confidence in him."
Serving as the top assistant under former head coach Kevin Dresser, Robie helped elevate the profile of the Virginia Tech wrestling program since arriving in Blacksburg in 2006-07 as associate head coach. Since that first season, the Hokies have gone on to win three ACC Dual Meet Championships, three ACC tournament championships and finished in the top 10 at the NCAA Championships five times. He's also helped recruit and coach 17 ACC champions and 14 All-Americans.
"I'm excited about the opportunity to lead the wrestling program at Virginia Tech," Robie said. "I have a tremendous appreciation for the high expectations at Virginia Tech and embrace that challenge. So many student-athletes and other individuals have contributed to the ascent of this program, and we welcome the opportunity to continue having Virginia Tech wrestling compete at the highest level and hopefully achieve our ultimate goal."
Robie came to Blacksburg after serving as the head coach at Binghamton University in New York. A two-time collegiate All-American and 1997 NCAA runner-up, Robie took over a program that had been discontinued after the 2003-04 school year because of budget constraints. Before taking over at Binghamton, he was an assistant coach for four seasons at the University of Michigan.
In seven years as a Division I assistant coach prior to coming to Blacksburg, Robie helped coach 23 All-Americans, nine Academic All-Americans and one national champion. As the Wolverines' top assistant coach, Robie recruited three top-10 classes, including the No. 2-ranked class in 2004. His one-on-one work with Michigan student-athlete Ryan Bertin culminated with Bertin's 2003 NCAA championship -- the school's first national champion in 18 years. In all, Michigan's team earned national top-10 status all four years that Robie was a coach there. His dedication and influence off the mat resulted in the wrestling team winning the 2003 community service award at the school.
A world-class wrestler in his own right, Robie racked up a 126-23 record on the collegiate mat and was a two-time All-American. A two-time captain for former Olympic gold medalist Bruce Baumgartner at Edinboro University, Robie was a three-time Eastern Wrestling League champion and a three-time Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) champion. As a senior, Robie led the Fighting Scots to a sixth-place national finish -- the highest in school history and was the national runner-up. In 2008, he was inducted into the Edinboro Sports Hall of Fame.
The Erie, Pennsylvania native was a Dean's List student at Edinboro and received the school's Academic Achievement Award before graduating with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice in 1997. Robie brings strong ties to the eastern wrestling hotbed, as he also served as an assistant coach at West Virginia (1998-99) and Edinboro (1999-00). Robie and his wife, Jennifer, reside in Christiansburg with their three children -- Nate, Luke and Jake.