For the first time tonight, millions of Americans will meet Michelle Obama’s brother, Craig Robinson, who will introduce a video about his sister that will be screened before her primetime address.
So who is Craig Robinson?
The Craig Robinson who will speak tonight may end up famous in his own right, for reasons that have nothing to do with his brother-in-law’s presidential campaign. The 46-year-old was chosen in April to serve as the head coach of the Oregon State University men’s basketball team, a long dormant program that has sat at the bottom of the mighty Pac-10 pretty much since legendary coach Ralph Miller’s retirement in 1989.
Robinson was hired away from Brown, where in two years he turned the bottom-feeder Ivy League school into a winner, guiding the Providence school to a 19-10 mark (11-3 in the Ivy) last season – Brown’s best mark in decades. With OSU officials promising an increased investment in their hoops program, there is some hope among the Beaver faithful that Robinson will perform a similar turnaround job in Corvallis. In the ’70s and ’80s, Miller proved that winning was possible at OSU, racking up a 359-186 record, churning out eight NCAA tournament teams, and even landing the occasional star recruit, most famously Gary Payton. If Robinson, who runs a variation of the “Princeton offense” pioneered by his college coach, Pete Carril, does turn the Beavers into a winner, he’ll quickly become a top prospect for a marquee college coaching job, or even a spot in the N.B.A.
Robinson’s revival effort also creates the possibility – however remote – of Barack Obama becoming the first president since Bill Clinton in 1994 to attend the N.C.A.A. Final Four.