Robinson fulfills dream of being Hayti head football coach
After serving as an assistant football coach at Hayti High School and an AAU football coach in Houston, Texas, Hayti Native and 2005 graduate Dominique Robinson has been named the Indians’ head football coach. In an interview at the Hayti Field House Tuesday, July 11, Robinson expressed how taking the helm of Hayti football has been a longtime dream of his. He further noted that his father, Rickey Robinson, has always been his primary source of inspiration in making that dream a reality.
“He was my biggest influence when it comes to coaching and football,” said Robinson. “He was coaching pee wee here in Hayti even before I was interested in football. As I watched him coach and as I got older, I knew I wanted to be the head football coach at Hayti one day. He showed me that I didn’t have to be in a big city to do great things - that I could do good things right here in my home community.”
Robinson, after graduating from high school, fulfilled yet another lifelong dream - to play football at the collegiate level. Accomplishing something that is considerably difficult in Division I college football, Robinson walked on at the University of Missouri. Unfortunately, his career at Mizzou was cut short due to injuries. And, unlike many injured athletes, Robinson did not return home when his college playing days were cut short; instead, he stayed and completed his bachelor’s degree.
“It was also at this time as I finished my degree that I was able to coach as an offensive assistant at Hickman in Columbia under Arnel Monroe,” he explained. “He was very much my football mentor and was like a big brother to me. He mentored me through my entire college career and gave me the opportunity to coach for the first time.” Robinson says Coach Monroe recently passed away.
In 2015, Robinson left a good career and an increasingly successful AAU football program in Houston to return home to Hayti, a move that had been tugging at his heartstrings for years. After arriving, Robinson worked tirelessly as Hayti’s offensive line and defensive back coach. “I was able to work with a lot of talented guys here,” he said. “We had already done a lot of summer camps, so I had worked with many of these kids previously. I knew the transition would work well with them as I moved into the coaching staff. I knew the kind of talent we had here. I grew up here, and I walked the same hallways as our players.
“I knew I wanted our guys to get the work ethic, the discipline and the education,” he continued. “One of my main goals is to help these guys work hard in the classroom and encourage them to move on and get their college degrees.”
Recently earning his master’s degree, Robinson is now employed full-time with the Hayti School District and will be teaching Special Education. Dominique is married to the former Michelle Shivers, and they have three children: Zion, Jayden and Chance. Before Tuesday’s interview concluded, Robinson was eager to talk about his mother, Billie Tillmon. “She and my dad really pushed me about the education,” he stated. “I couldn’t play sports, play video games or even leave my room if I didn’t have those books open and my homework done.”
For the opportunity to be Hayti’s new head football coach, Robinson expressed gratitude to God, his wife, his parents, Jackie Johnson, Bart Chance, KC Gilmer and Aaron Bidewell. “I also want to thank the Hayti Board of Education, the staff and faculty and student body of Hayti High School and the community of Hayti,” he added.