Exclusive Interview With Former USF Head Coach Robin Roberts

April 08, 2009
Coach Robin Roberts shaking hands with current manager of the St. Louis Cardinals Tony LaRussa.
Coach Robin Roberts shaking hands with current manager of the St. Louis Cardinals Tony LaRussa.

TAMPA -- GoUSFBulls.com got the opportunity to sit down with former USF baseball coach Robin Roberts at the alumni event before the Pittsburgh game on April 4.

Roberts was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976, and became head coach of USF in 1977 where he remained until 1985. 

In 19 seasons in Major League baseball, Roberts recoreded a 286-245 record with 2,357 strikeouts, a 3.41 ERA, 305 complete games, 45 shutouts, and 4,688 innings pitched in 676 games. He started on 12 opening days for the Philadelphia Phillies, which is still the most ever opening day starts for any one team.

Roberts led USF to its first ever NCAA Tournament appearance and collected a long list of MLB accomplishments including:

7-time All-Star (1950-56)
5-time Top 10 MVP (1950, 1952-55)
6-time won 20 or more games (1950-55)
4-time led league in won games (1952-55)
Twice led the league in strikeouts (1953-54)
Led league in shutouts (1950)
6-time led the league in games started (1950-55)
5-time led league in complete games (1952-56)
5-time led league in innings pitched (1951-55)
6-time pitched over 300 innings (1950-55)

GoUSFBulls.com: What have you been doing since you left the program?
Roberts: Well, I coached until 1985, then I retired. I live in Temple Terrace. I make appearances. A lot of people like to stop me and talk baseball. I am doing fine. I lost my wife four or five years ago, but I am hanging in there.

GoUSFBulls.com: How did your time at USF affect you?
Roberts: Well, the guys that played for me, when I hear from them and they say that they had a positive experience, then that is great. Baseball was wonderful for me, as you can imagine. We had a great time together. I have had four of them make the major leagues in Scott Hemond, Tony Fossas, Chris Welch and Timmy Hulett. They all played for us, and they all made the big leagues. It was obvious that when I saw them, that I knew they had that potential. It was wonderful that it worked out for them.

GoUSFBulls.com: Is there anything you miss from being around the program?
Roberts: When you have a kid that can really play, you know that he can play. It is not like you are going to teach him how to play, he can play. I had four guys that were like that, and ironically enough, they all made the major leagues. I remember seeing them for the first time, and I thought that they have a chance, and it worked out for them.

GoUSFBulls.com: What are your thoughts on the program now, and its future?
Roberts: It is so organized and so publicized. It is such a big deal. It has kind of left me. I was just a ballplayer who could recognize ballplayers. Now there is a lot more into in. You have to work hard. You have to talk to parents about their kids coming here. That was strange for me to do, but that is part of it now. Prado can do it. He is good at it.

GoUSFBulls.com: Can you talk about the alumni event, and what it means to see guys that have been with the program from across the years?
Roberts: What do guys say? It is priceless. This kind of stuff is beyond the wins and loses. It is just wonderful to be a part of.

MORE FROM Baseball