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Long-time Hi-Line coach Robinson dies


File photo

Charlie Robinson, left, coaches a Chinook High School girls basketball game. Robinson died unexpectedly Monday.

Charlie Robinson, the girls basketball coach at Chinook High School, passed away Monday.

Robinson has coached around the Hi-Line for over 40 years, beginning with boys basketball in Outlook in 1969. He then moved to boys basketball in Victor, boys and girls in Dutton, boys and girls in Kremlin-Gildford, boys at North Star and finally ended up teaching the girls team in Chinook.

All-in-all, Robinson has led hundreds of students in Class C teams. In February, George Ferguson of the Havre Daily News reported that Robinson was Montana's second all-time coach with the highest number of wins with 559 boys basketball wins and 291 girls basketball wins, including 68 Chinook victories under his belt, amounting to 869 winning games.

Robinson had coached the Chinook Sugarbeeters for four years before Monday.

Robinson said February he had the option of moving to Class B and A teams, but he stayed with coaching Class C because of his wife's health. He said the environment was better for both of them.

Chris Daniel, who coaches girls basketball in Centerville but used to coach boys basketball at Chinook, said he talked to Robinson just about every week.

Daniel and Robinson coached against each other for four years while Robinson was coach for North Star and alongside each other in the 2010-11 season before Daniel left Chinook.

"Charlie had a big personality," Daniel said. "He'd brighten up the room."

Daniel said Robinson loved the game of basketball, but he probably loved the kids he coached and even the kids his teams competed against more than anything.

"He was just a really good guy to the kids and a really good friend to me," Daniel said.

The upcoming school year at Chinook was to be Robinson's fifth and he was already making preparations for next season when the last season ended.

"He never took a break," Daniel said.

Daniel said that Robinson made him a better coach.

"He made you have to beat him because his teams were so fundamentally solid. They didn't made a lot of mistakes no matter what the talent level was of his players," Daniel said.

Jay Eslick, the superintendent of Chinook School District, said Robinson has done great things for the programs at the high school.

"We built a pretty good relationship," Eslick said. " ... It's a shock. We talked just last week about the upcoming challenges for the school year. He had a positive outlook. We're going to miss him. I think statewide, people are going to miss him - Old Charlie."

Rockman Funeral Chapel in Chester is handling funeral arrangements. An obituary is slated to be printed Thursday.


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