Brad Robbins (Powell Valley) is currently training at UConn

Brad Robbins (Powell Valley) is currently training at UConn
Brad Robbins (Powell Valley) is currently training at UConn

Since entering the world of college football coaching, Brad Robbins has earned a reputation as an offensive wizard, rigorous recruiter and tireless worker.

Like countless other assistants in NCAA Division I, he makes extensive use of the Google Maps app on his cellphone as he prepares to work in his seventh program since graduating from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise in 2010.

“It’s definitely part of the job,” Robbins said. “I’m just focused on doing the best I can where I am. The last three moves in the industry, I’ve had calls out of the blue. Those calls are rare, so when they come, you have to talk as a family about what’s the best opportunity for everyone involved.”

The 37-year-old Robbins’ latest job is as quarterback coach and passing game coordinator for the University of Connecticut Huskies, an NCAA Division I FBS independent team.

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He had been hired as offensive coordinator at Southern Utah and was completing spring training with the Thunderbirds when his phone rang.

On the other end of the line was UConn head coach Jim Mora Jr.

The same Jim Mora Jr. who previously served as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks and UCLA Bruins.

“Coach Mora reached out and we talked,” Robbins said. “We ended up talking via Zoom and after that he called and offered the job. At that point, my wife (Jill) and I talked and felt like this was the best opportunity for our family. The timing was difficult, but the opportunity to work under Coach Mora made it an opportunity we couldn’t pass up. It’s been a tumultuous year, but we feel very fortunate to be a part of UConn football.”

What convinced Robbins to move to Storrs, Connecticut?

“Definitely the opportunity to be able to work under Coach Mora and (offensive coordinator Gordon) Sammis. They have developed a clear vision and plan for UConn football. In all of our conversations about the job, everything seemed to line up and when we talked about the topic, it just flowed and it was clear they were two guys I wanted to work for.”

Robbins has hit the ground running since being hired in March.

“Brad has done a great job of building a relationship with the players and he has done an excellent job of teaching the quarterbacks the fundamentals of the position,” Sammis said. “We have seen great progress since he has been here. We are very fortunate to have him here. He is a great teacher and communicator.”

A former all-state quarterback at Powell Valley High School (where he played for his father, legendary Southwest Virginia coach Phil Robbins) and all-conference quarterback and baseball hitter at UVa-Wise, Robbins previously served as an assistant coach at the University of Virginia, Virginia Military Institute (VMI), Charleston Southern, North Greenville, Tennessee Tech and Southern Utah, learning a thing or two at each stop.

“Absolutely,” Robbins said. “I’ve been fortunate to work for great head coaches, and some of them are my closest mentors in this profession. As a college football coach, there’s so much room for growth in so many areas. Whether it’s recruiting, team building, game planning or whatever, you try to learn every day. I’ve had great bosses, colleagues and players, and they’ve all influenced me and helped me grow.”

They include Scott Wachenheim, who worked with Robbins at UVa and was head coach at VMI when Robbins was wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator for the Keydets.

“As an assistant (at Virginia), Brad has proven himself time and time again to be an outstanding football coach. You could tell he was born to coach and followed in his father’s footsteps,” Wachenheim said. “I was so impressed with Brad’s passion for coaching, his ability to handle young men and his understanding of the fundamentals of football that he was the first assistant coach I hired after I was named head football coach at Virginia Military Institute.”

Wachenheim witnessed Robbins’ versatile skills.

“He has a knack for evaluating talent, and several high school coaches have told me he is the best talent scout in their area,” Wachenheim said. “He has a unique ability to organize a recruiting weekend and adjust on the fly when unforeseen circumstances arise. Additionally, his receiver corps has consistently been the most improved unit on the team.”

“Brad is the ultimate team player. He is always willing to sacrifice his fame for the success of the team.”

UConn struggled to a 3-9 mark last season after going 6-7 in 2022 and losing to Marshall in the Myrtle Beach Bowl.

The Huskies open the season at Maryland on August 31 and also have road games against Duke (September 14) and Syracuse (November 23) of the Atlantic Coast Conference. ACC member Wake Forest comes to Connecticut on October 19.

“Our offensive motto is Connectigrit,” Robbins said. “We want to be a combative and violent unit, versatile and explosive. Coach Sammis does a great job leading our unit and I think our biggest strength is that our staff and players are buying into Coach Sammis’ vision and plan. … My family and I are excited to be Huskies and really enjoy living in Connecticut. We’re looking forward to this fall.”

Although Robbins is focused on the task ahead, his coaching career is far from over.

“I have been in constant contact with Brad since he left my team at VMI. I am impressed with everything he has accomplished and know he has a bright future ahead of him,” Wachenheim said.

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