Senator Robert Robbins

From the wrestling room at Greenville High School, to the jungles of Vietnam, to the halls of the Pennsylvania Legislature, Senator Robert D. Robbin s has touched many lives. A Greenville High School 1962 graduate, Robbins wrestled for the late David H. Clelland and won the 127 pound PIAA State championship his senior year. He continued his wrestling career at the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he was a Freshman Eastern Wrestling Champion (at that time freshmen were barred from NCAA varsity) and won an Eastern Championship in 1966. He was a two-time NCAA medalist, 6th in 1965, 5th in 1966, earning All-American status both years. Following his commission as an officer, Bob served two tours of duty during the Vietnam War. While in the service, he won the 1967 All-U.S. Army championship and also won the Inner Service Freestyle title that year. He received his Ranger Tab, Airborne Wings and the Combat Infantry Badge and was awarded the Soldier's Medal for Heroism, the Bronze Star Medal for Valor, Bronze Star Medals for Meritorious Service, the Army Commendation Medal for Valor and Army Commendations for Meritorious Service. He had done undergraduate and post grad work at Duquesne University, Slippery Rock State College, East Stroudsburg State College and Geneva College and following his separation from the Army he returned to Greenville as a Social Studies teacher and succeeded his mentor, Coach Clelland, as wrestling coach. During his tenure at Greenville, 1973-77, Coach Robbins' teams put together a 44-11 record. He coached 4 PIAA State finalists and 3 State Champions, including Greenville's first two-time champ, Steve Riley. His third champion, Norman Walker, was the first Pennsylvania high school wrestler to win 100 career matches. Robbins left education in 1977 to become an associate of the Massachusetts General Life Insurance Company, but he didn't leave wrestling. He served as the President of the PIAA District X Coaches Association from 1976-1980 and was President of the Pennsylvania Wrestling Federation (now USA Wrestling) from 1978-1984. He was an assistant coach with the Pennsylvania Wrestling Federation in 1975-1976 and served as head coach from 1977-1984, coaching 13 Junior National Champions. In 1978 he coached the Cadet Team (15 & 16 year olds) to the National title with 5 individual champions. In 1983 he coached the Greco team to the National Championship, led the Freestyle team to second place in the nation and was named the United States Wrestling Federation's Man of the Year. He was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1982, serving 4 terms. In 1990 he was elected to the Pennsylvania State Senate, serving the 50th District. He is currently the Majority Caucus Secretary and served as Majority Policy Committee Chairman from 1996-2000. Among his legislative duties he has been Chairman of the Military and Veterans Affairs Committee and has chaired, as well as been a member of, the Local Government Commission. He has been a member of the Games and Fisheries Committee, the Community and Economic Development Committee, the Rules and Executive Nominations Committee and the American Legislative Exchange Council. He served ten years as the Pa. State Chairman of the American Legislative Exchange Council. While serving as a legislator Robbins worked tirelessly, and successfully, to remove control of amateur wrestling from the Pennsylvania Athletic Commission, which had controlled all amateur wrestling outside of the scholastic and collegiate field. In the 1999-2000 session Senator Robbins served on a special taskforce to review the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association. While politics is his passion these days, he still has time for wrestling. He helped organize the Thiel College Invitational Tournament in 1987 and 1988, served as coach and coordinator of wrestling for the Keystone State Games in 1984 and 1985. He still announces wrestling matches and tournaments for WGRP­WEXC, Greenville, as he has done since 1977. Robbins was elected into the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1995 and is also a member of the Mercer County Sports Hall of Fame. Robbins and his wife, Cindy, make their home in Salem Township, Pa.


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