Craig Robinson

Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson yells instructions to his players during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Washington State on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, at Beasley Coliseum in Pullman, Wash. Oregon State won 66-55. (AP Photo/Dean Hare)

The Craig Robinson era is over at Oregon State.

The school announced Monday that it had fired Robinson after six years as men’s basketball coach.

Robinson posted a record of 94-105 overall and 39-69 in the Pac-10/12 in his six seasons at Oregon State. The Beavers went 16-16 this past season and lost to Radford in the first round of the third-tier College Basketball Invitational.

Fans and boosters voiced their concern about the direction of the program, and athletic director Bob De Carolis offered a letter of support for the coach in late March.

But De Carolis began to have some second thoughts and ultimately decided to go a different direction.

“Despite my sincere want for coach Robinson to be successful at Oregon State, as the days moved on since March it became clear to me that wanting it to work with Craig as our head coach was not good enough,” De Carolis said. “Oregon State University, our student-athletes and our loyal supporters deserve more than simple desire — they deserve success.”

While the Beavers did go 16-16, they have lost nearly all their scoring punch as seniors Roberto Nelson, Devon Collier and Angus Brandt have used their eligibility. Then junior Eric Moreland declared for the NBA draft and freshman point guard Hallice Cooke decided to transfer. Junior Challe Barton has also left school early.

Robinson was hired on April 7, 2008, and took over a program that went 0-18 in the Pac-10 Conference. He guided the Beavers to the CBI title in his first season as the Beavers finished 18-18.

He brought more than promise to the team; he brought star power as well: His younger sister Michelle is married to his Barack Obama, who was elected president the November after Robinson was named coach. Since then, Michelle Obama has visited Corvallis several times, In 2012, she was the keynote speaker at OSU’s commencement ceremony.

The OSU men’s basketball team has visited the White House and met the president.

But in Robinson’s second season, the Beavers went 14-18 and 11-20 in Year 3. OSU was 21-15 in 2011-12 and 14-18 in 2012-13 before going 16-16 this past season.

Robinson had three years left on his contract and will be owed close to $4.2 million. That salary will be paid out over the next 38 months, De Carolis said.

De Carolis said a national search for Robinson’s successor has begun. He is confident the job is attractive.

“I think it’s a better job than last time,” De Carolis said, noting the addition of the OSU Basketball Center among others as improvements. “We didn’t have those things six years ago. So it’s a better job.”

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Steve Gress is the sports editor of the Corvallis Gazette-Times. He can be reached at steve.gress@lee.net.


Sports Editor

Sports editor of the Corvallis Gazette-Times and Albany Democrat-Herald