Robinson leaves as Warhorse basketball coach

Owen basketball coach takes job at North Buncombe

Fred McCormick

The gym at Owen High School has been like a second home for Chuck Robinson since he took over as head coach of the varsity boys basketball team..

In six seasons there, Robinson has won 69 games and produced four 1,000-point career scorers. Coming off a career-best 23-6 season with the Warhorses, Robinson's new basketball home at North Buncombe High School will be a lot closer to his real home.

On June 9, Robinson was officially named the new coach of the Black Hawks program, which won a Mountain Athletic Conference 3-A championship a year ago under David Rutledge. Rutledge announced his resignation as the team's head coach in May.

Chuck Robinson looks up at the scoreboard while drawing up a play during the Warhorses' opening round playoff win at home over Parkwood last season.

"I live one mile from the school," Robinson said. "It's my alma mater, it's where I played ball, and it's where a lot of my family graduated from. And my oldest son graduated from there."

Robinson's youngest son will begin attending North Buncombe next year as a freshman.

"I had no plans of leaving Owen," he said. "This job came open and I thought, 'this could be my shot to get back home.'"

Robinson coached the game for 30 years before taking over for the Warhorses. The job at Owen carries special significance for him. It was his first high school coaching job.

"I really appreciate them giving me that chance," he said.

Owen was 3-19 the season before Robinson arrived. It improved by just one game during his first season. It won 11 games the next season and 12 in 2013-14, when Michael Pomeroy picked up his 1,000th point for the Warhorses. After a rough season in 2014-15, Robinson and the Warhorses produced two of the best back-to-back seasons the program had seen in years.

The emergence of Brian Bartlett, Mathew Brown and Ben Craig, all of whom eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for their careers, helped Robinson guide the Warhorses to a combined 39-17 record over the past two seasons. Owen advanced to the second round of the state playoffs in 2016 and the third round in 2017.

"I love those guys to death," Robinson said of his players at Owen. "I think the world of them."

Robinson also coached the Owen tennis team to a conference championship last season, the only Western Highlands Conference won by a team at the school all year. He said he plans to return to Owen in that role next year.

Owen's longtime varsity girls' basketball coach Tim Raines retired at the end of the year, leaving the school searching for a pair of varsity basketball coaches.