The Dagger

Oregon State fires Craig Robinson, an oddly timed but overdue decision

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

What's surprising about Oregon State's decision to fire coach Craig Robinson isn't that the Beavers ousted President Obama's brother-in-law while he was still in office. 

The only surprise is that it took this long.

SI.com reported Monday that Oregon State informed Robinson of its decision Sunday night, six weeks after he completed his sixth season with an overall record of 93-104 and without a single NCAA tournament or NIT appearance. The delay in parting with Robinson puts Oregon State at a disadvantage since every major program with a vacancy has already found their coach and every other Pac-12 program has already shifted its focus toward recruiting.

Why would Oregon State wait until early May to fire Robinson rather than doing so in late March after the season ended? It's possible money was a factor. Perhaps a donor didn't step up to finance Robinson's buyout until the Beavers' future under Robinson became even more bleak when forward Eric Moreland and guard Challe Barton decided to begin pro careers and promising freshman guard Hallice Cooke announced he was transferring.

It's pretty clear the firing caught Robinson off guard too based on his actions the previous week. Oregon State had just landed Maryland transfer Nick Faust last Thursday, a commitment that probably won't stick now that the Beavers are undergoing a coaching change.

If the timing of Robinson's firing raised eyebrows, the decision itself should not.  

Hired to resuscitate a program that went winless in Pac-12 play the year before he arrived, Robinson initially improved the talent level at Oregon State but failed to parlay that into on-court success. The Beavers went 39-69 in the Pac-12 under Robinson and have finished better than eighth in the Pac-12 only once in six years despite the presence of talented players like Jared Cunningham, Roberto Nelson, Devon Collier and Moreland.

With all five starters from last year's underachieving 16-16 team gone, Oregon State would have been lucky to avoid the Pac-12 cellar next season even if Robinson had returned. The leading returning scorer for the Beavers is guard Langston Morris-Walker, who averaged a mere 4.0 points per game as a sophomore this past season.

Considering Robinson would have been the only major-conference college basketball coach in the nation to survive six years without making a single NCAA tournament appearance, nobody can argue Oregon State should have been more patient. If anything, the Beavers were too sensitive about making a coaching change because of the bleak situation Robinson inherited, the money needed to oust him and especially the fact that his family is in the White House.

It seems the idea of facing a total rebuild with a seventh-year head coach was the final straw for Oregon State.

The timing of Robinson's firing is unusual but the decision is long overdue.

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Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at daggerblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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