Inducted January 25, 1992
Russ Robinson was a four-year basketball letterman for the SMS Bears of Coach Eddie Matthews from 1955-56 throughout the 1958-59 SMS season. A native of Gainesville, MO, Robinson appeared in 18 of 21 SMS games as a freshman as the Bears went 15-6. Robinson finished third on the team in scoring as a sophomore with a 10.5 average and was the Bears’ leading rebounder as SMS recorded another third place finish in the MIAA. During his final two years, one of the most successful chapters in the long history of the Bears’ cage program unfolded as Coach Matthews and his ballclubs punched up season records of 22-2 and 23-3, won back-to-back MIAA championships, and made SMSU’s first two appearances in the NCAA College Division tournament. On a talented and well-balanced team his junior season, Robinson averaged 8.8 points and 8.6 rebounds as SMS captured its first regional championship and then bowed to the University of South Dakota in the national quarterfinals. As a senior, Robinson had his best season in terms of point and rebound production, averaging 12.2 points and 9.9 rebounds a game. SMS repeated its regional championship and knocked off Hope College and Cal State-Los Angeles before losing to host Evansville in the NCAA title game. A Bears’ co-captain as a senior, Robinson was named to the all-MIAA first team in 1959. Robinson’s career included an overall 21-game Bears’ winning streak in 1957 and 1958, the second longest streak in SMS history; and also a school record 41-game home court winning streak in McDonald Arena which ran from January, 1957, to February, 1960. During his SMS playing days, Robinson was a member of teams which had an overall 72-19 record, and he finished with 787 points and 634 rebounds for his 86-game SMS career. More than 30 years after the end of his career, he still ranks 29th on the all-time SMS scoring list and he remains ninth in career rebounds. Robinson received the Virgil Cheek Athletic Achievement Award upon his graduation from SMS in 1959.