DIAA honors Dave Robinson with Lifetime Achievement Award: Former Caesar Rodney, Cape Henlopen superintendent has played major sports role

Dave Robinson receives a standing ovation after he was honored with his DIAA award and spoke about his career and philosophy on education and athletics Thursday. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

DOVER — In a lot of ways, Dave Robinson could be the poster boy for the DIAA.

A standout football lineman for Lewes High, he went on to become a coach and then a high school administrator.

But Robinson always stayed involved in athletics, serving on the board of directors and the football state tournament committee for the DIAA.

Former coach and superintendent Dr. David Robinson receives the DIAA Lifetime Achievement award from DIAA board chairman Dr. Bradley Layfield on Thursday.

So it only seemed fitting then that the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association presented Robinson with its Lifetime Achievement Award on Thursday morning.

The 74-year-old Robinson accepted the award surrounded by family and former coaches, many of whom he hired in his role as the superintendent at both Caesar Rodney and Cape Henlopen.

“It was very nice to be recognized,” said Robinson, who now largely relies on a wheelchair after being paralyzed in a bike-riding accident two years ago.

“I’m very appreciative of people attending that mean a lot to me — a lot of old faces. It’s amazing over time, you remember the good things — and that’s the good part of life.

“When you’re recognized, it’s always on the wings of someone else or a combination of people that

have done good work for you over the years,” he added. “Sometimes you don’t realize the impact you have on people’s lives by hiring them. It’s sort of interesting, even some people that we had disagreements with over time, they come out and celebrate. That’s probably the best thing — we can celebrate. Where I am in my life right now, it’s a good thing.”

Robinson was also presented with the Secretary of Education Award by Dr. Susan Bunting on Thursday.

Kevin Charles, the former DIAA executive director, said it’s people like Robinson that the organization is built upon. Robinson served as the chairman of the board of directors for DSSAA (the DIAA’s predecessor) in 1991-93.

Longtime Caesar Rodney coach John Newman giving Dave Robinson a hug as he arrives in Dover to receive the DIAA Lifetime Achievement Award. Dave’s brother-in-law Ron Souder is in the background.

He was also an active member of the football committee from 1992-2017.

“Dave is one of those people you like to surround yourself with,” said Charles. “He provides great leadership. He understands the big picture at all levels and just is a great sounding board.

“He’s the epitome of what you like to see in your school leaders — people have come up through the ranks and touched every aspect of the school. Dave made a comment about how he took the lessons that he learned through athletics and held them very close as an administrator.”

John Coveleski was one of the former CR coaches on hand Thursday. He coached several sports when Robinson was the principal at the school.

“He had high expectations,” said Coveleski. “But he had high expectations for himself, too. So he led by example. That’s probably the easiest way to sum up what he was all about.”

Robinson, who’s also been battling a blood cancer for over nine years, said he always thought there were some correlations between running a team and running a school district.

“The best principals I ever had were people that thought like a coach,” he said. “‘I’ve got to pick my team, I’ve got to get the best people to make my school as good as it can be.’ You have to have that competitive edge. I think people that participate in athletics understand that.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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