Seven Minutes with J Robinson

Seven Minutes is a series of interviews with top wrestling coaches and athletes. Most of the question-and-answer sessions last roughly seven minutes. Hence the name. J Robinson coached the University of Minnesota to three NCAA championships, including the 2001 team that had 10 All-Americans. The former Army Ranger was a 1972 Olympian in Greco-Roman and is the founder of J Robinson Camps.

If you could take what you know now and have a conversation with yourself at the age of 15, what advice would you give yourself?

I would give myself the advice of trying to find a philosophy that I could buy into that would help me get to the level I wanted to get into. Having someone give me a path and say this is what you need to get there so I had a clear way to get to where I wanted to go.

Let’s go back to when you were in high school. What do you remember about the recruiting process, if there was any, and why did you pick Oklahoma State being from California?

I graduated in 1964 so there wasn’t any recruiting per se in the state of California. I got a couple letters from California schools that asked me to come there and wrestle. My high school coach was Ned Blass who was a two-time NCAA champion for Oklahoma State. He came in my senior year and he’s one of those people who opens your eyes and will say, ‘The world is bigger than California and it’s bigger than San Diego.’ He basically said you’re good enough to go here and he basically sent me to Oklahoma State. I went and I was lucky enough to have someone to direct me in the path I needed to go. I was willing to go — I just didn’t know where to go. I think that’s the way it is for a lot of young people. Listen/Continue reading at