Family night for the Robinsons

A passion for service and basketball leads to family gatherings
Posted on 12/03/2021
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Family night for the Robinson family is centered around a table - a scorer’s table that is - and attire is black and white. Ties and tails are not required. Zebra stripes are more appropriate.

Wednesday nights have become family night for the Robinson’s at Rifle Middle School where Wyatt can be found coaching the 8th grade boys basketball team, brothers Garrett and Morgan and Father Chad are on the floor officiating and Mom Jennifer is assisting at the scorer’s table. It’s a family affair born from a lot of passion for the game and a little necessity.Wyatt Robinson

All of the boys grew up on the hardwood floors of the Garfield Re-2 School District playing pee-wee basketball through Rifle Recreation, honing their skills at Rifle Middle School and then becoming battle-tested cagers for the Rifle Bears. Their Dad, Chad, was on the bench for most of those years, from pee-wees to Rifle High where he was an assistant coach for 10-years.

Four years ago, Wyatt took the reigns of the Rifle Middle School 7th grade team.

“The athletic director at the time asked me if I wanted to coach the 7th grade team. I had just started my new job and I initially said no. When they still couldn’t find anyone, my boss said he thought I’d be a good fit, so I agreed to step in,” said Wyatt. “I just wanted to continue the love of the game on to the younger kids. I thought it would be a one year thing, but I enjoy it and love the kids and I get to be a mentor.”

Wyatt has since moved up to the 8th grade team, and then necessity called again. There was a coach, but no referees.

Robinsons reffingCurrent RMS athletic director Rob Dean said middle schools up and down the valley are struggling to find officials for all sports.

“When I got here two years ago, the local high school officials organization was scheduling our games too. Last year they stopped. I was fretting over where we were going to find good officials.”


In addition to having a passion and skill for basketball, the Robinson family has a passion and great skill in the area of education. Wyatt works in the technology department for Garfield Re-2. Morgan is a science teacher at Rifle Middle School and Garrett is a permanent substitute teacher at Wamsley Elementary. For Dean, that seemed like a captive audience.

“I spoke with Morgan and Garrett, and since Chad wasn’t coaching at Rifle High School, it seemed like a good fit,” said Dean.

Wyatt worked his family from the home front and it didn’t take much to get them to say yes. Robinsons

“They needed officials,” said Morgan of his reason for donning a whistle and lacing up his high-tops again. ”I have fun with it. It’s fun to go from the classroom to watching your students on the basketball court.”

He added that it is nice to work with family.

“I’ve played for my Dad and now I can tell him what to do,” laughed Morgan. “It makes it fun when you can do it with your family.”

Dean added when teams come to play in Rifle, they get a minimum of two and sometimes a full three-man officiating team.

“It’s been great, because when we go to other schools, usually there is only one referee. Sometimes they have two, rarely they have three,” said Dean. “For us to have two or three, is unique.“


And don’t let the fact that both the officials and the head coach have the last name of Robinson let you think anyone is getting special Morgan Robinsontreatment.

“I don’t think I’ve had a game yet where the foul count has been in our favor,” laughed Wyatt. 

Garrett is the task master of the family. Although it is family fun, he has the whistle and the upper hand on his older brother. 

“He (Wyatt) knows not to say too much,” laughed Garrett, “because he knows he’s getting quality officials. We don’t show a bias. We need to keep it fair.”

Because of their deep understanding of the game, Garrett says it becomes easy to get lost in the action on the floor and forget everything else - even blood relations.

“At time outs, we’ll talk like family, but when the game is on, you are in the game. We are officials. It’s like a switch.”

Father Chad is proud of Wyatt for continuing the passion for basketball and coaching. 

“That’s the evolution. As you move forward playing as he did, from pee-wee’s through high school, you want to give back. It’s a good setup to have a good feeder system at the middle school to the high school.” said Chad.  He added,  “I always said that when I quit coaching, I’m going to go ref. As coaches we always think we can do better than the refs we have. I am going to do the best job I can reffing.”

Basketball is all in the family for the Robinsons.

“It’s fun because after the game they criticize me. My Dad gives me friendly advice after the game.  I’m truly grateful that they come and do it and can fit it into their schedules.”


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