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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 1 week ago

Mika Robinson signs on to coach at the Winter Park Volleyball Club

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The Rollins head coach will be coaching the 16-Elites starting this upcoming season.
by: Troy Herring Associate Editor

It all started with a practice at the Winter Park Volleyball Club facility.

Mika Robinson, the head volleyball coach at Rollins College, was visiting to see an incoming player go through drills.

Not only did her future player impress her, but also she walked away in awe of the coach’s approach to the game and how she handled players.

After sitting on the idea for a while, Robinson decided to reach out to Aaron Phillips, the director of Winter Park Volleyball Club, and see if they would be interested in having her come aboard.

“I said, ‘Hey, I would love to chat with you sometime about the program and what you have going on,” Robinson said. “‘I have two kids, and we’re looking for a place for them to play next year, and I’d potentially be interested in coaching depending on the situation.’ So I met with Aaron and then decided to join their team.”

And just like that, Robinson signed on and will make her official debut as the 16-Elites coach at the Winter Park Volleyball Club this upcoming season.

The interest from Robinson came as exciting news to Phillips, who saw the possible addition of an experienced coach adding to the organization. 

During the discussions, Phillips met with Robinson on multiple occasions, getting to know the Rollins’ coach better.

“We just hit it off,” Phillips said. “She and I have a passion for it (volleyball), and when we sat down and talked we just clicked. We could have easily sat and talked for another hour.”

Robinson herself brings a wealth of knowledge and experience. During her four-year playing career at Harvard University, Robinson played setter for the Crimson varsity volleyball team, before graduating in 1996 with a degree in psychology.

Following college, Robinson became active in club volleyball for the first time after coming back to Florida – coaching multiple teams at the Gainesville Juniors Volleyball Club. She also acted as the head volleyball coach at Buchholz High School, where she led the Bobcats to four straight district championships and one elite eight appearance.

She also was named Gainesville Sun’s 3A-5A Coach of the Year during her time at Buchholz.

From Gainesville, Robinson headed to Pocatello, Idaho, where she served as the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator for the Idaho State University volleyball team. She also took advantage of the opportunity and earned a master’s degree in physical education in 2006.

Making her way back to the Southeast, Robinson took the head-coaching gig at Berry College in Georgia, where she led the Vikings for eight years before deciding to take the job at Rollins.

Although Robinson is just now coming aboard, she said that she had been familiar with the program before arriving in Florida. Her daughter, Bryce, played against WPVC a few times during their stint in Georgia. 

Both of her children, Bryce and son, Clay, will be starting up play for WPVC this year.

While Robinson is looking forward to getting to watch Bryce and Clay play and develop, she’s also hoping to focus on developing her own players — something that has Phillips excited for the start of the season.

“She is going to bring exactly what I bring,” Phillips said. “She is going to bring passion, and she is going to expect discipline, and she is going to expect the kids to get better. She loves teaching.”

Although she plans to coach her players hard, there is another enjoyment that Robinson gets from coaching young players.

“I think there is a lot of opportunity there for me to be able to give back to the community where we are living, which I think is always a positive thing,” Robinson said. “I think especially with sports it gives me an opportunity to give back to whatever players I end up coaching, but also even just some of the other coaching staff. I’m excited about it.”

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