Former NFL Coordinator Willy Robinson Named Defensive Coordinator

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Willy Robinson has been named defensive coordinator and safeties coach at the University of Arkansas it was announced by head coach Bobby Petrino on Wednesday.

Robinson is a 30-year coaching veteran including stints as a defensive coordinator in both college and professional football. He has 18 years of experience at the collegiate level and has spent 12 years as an assistant coach in the National Football League. Last season, he was the secondary coach for the St. Louis Rams.

“We are extremely fortunate to add Willy Robinson to our coaching staff,” Petrino said. “He is an excellent coach and teacher of the game. He has extensive experience as a coordinator and an assistant coach on the collegiate level and in the NFL. His wealth of knowledge and experience will be a tremendous asset to our staff.”

The defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers in 2004, he was the secondary coach for the St. Louis Rams in 2006-07 where he coached former Razorback Darius Vinnett. He was the senior defensive assistant and secondary coach in New Orleans in 2005 after coaching the defensive backs for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2000-03. In 2001, the Steelers posted a 13-3 regular season record and advanced to the AFC Championship Game. After a 0-2 start in 2002, Pittsburgh rallied to earn a playoff berth for the second-consecutive season. He was also the secondary coach for the Seattle Seahawks from 1995-98.

In 1999, he was the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Oregon State, where he coached the Pacific 10 Conference’s top scoring and pass efficiency units. OSU was also No. 9 in the nation in pass efficiency defense (98.9), No. 30 in scoring defense (23.1) and No. 48 in total defense (355.6).

With the Rams in 2006, he helped St. Louis improve its pass defense to third-best in the NFL and eighth-best overall in the NFL, allowing only 189.7 passing yards a game, which was the lowest for St. Louis since 1998 (176.9).

While with the Seahawks, he helped Shawn Springs and Daryl Williams earn Pro Bowl berths.

Robinson coached the secondary at the University of Miami before going with head coach Dennis Erickson to Seattle. Robinson also coached with Erickson at Oregon State and in San Francisco.

Before going to Miami, Robinson spent 14 years at Fresno State, his alma mater, under head coach Jim Sweeney. The Bulldogs advanced to six bowl games during his tenure. At Fresno, he coached the secondary (1980-86), outside linebackers (1987-89) and later the secondary again along with handling special teams (1990). In 1988, he was promoted to co-defensive coordinator and then served as the sole defensive coordinator in 1992-93 before going to Miami for the 1994 season. Miami played for a national championship against Nebraska in the 1995 Orange Bowl.

He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Fresno State in 1978 and earned his first full-time position the following season as outside linebackers coach at San Jose State.

The Fort Carson, Colo., native played two seasons (1975-76) at the College of the Sequoias (Calif.) before transferring to Fresno State, where he played defensive back in 1977-78 and earned first-team All-Pacific Coast Conference honors as a junior and second-team honors as a senior.

COACHING DUTIES: Defensive Coordinator and Safeties

BORN: Feb. 10, 1956

FAMILY: wife, Susan; daughters Brittany and Mallory, stepson Morgan


Redwood HS (1974)

Fresno St. – B.S. in physical education (1978)





2008- Arkansas (defensive coordinator – safeties)

2006-07 – St. Louis Rams (NFL) (assistant coach – secondary)

2005 – New Orleans Saints (NFL) (senior defensive assistant coach – secondary)

2004 – San Francisco 49ers (NFL) (defensive coordinator)

2000-03 – Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL) (assistant coach – defensive backs)

1999 – Oregon St. (defensive coordinator – secondary)

1995-98 – Seattle Seahawks (NFL) (assistant coach – secondary)

1994 – Miami (Fla.) (assistant coach – secondary)

1992-93 – Fresno State (defensive coordinator – special teams / secondary)

1990-91 – Fresno State (co-defensive coordinator – secondary / special teams)

1988-89 – Fresno State (co-defensive coordinator – outside linebackers)

1987 – Fresno State (assistant coach – outside linebackers)

1980-86 – Fresno State (assistant coach – secondary)

1979 – San Jose State (assistant coach – outside linebackers)

1978 – Fresno State (graduate assistant coach)


College of the Sequoias (defensive back, 1975-76)

Fresno State (defensive back, 1977-78)



Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL)

2002 AFC Wildcard Game2001 AFC Championship Game

2001 AFC Divisional Round

Oregon St.

1999 Oahu Bowl


1995 Orange Bowl

Fresno State

1993 Freedom Bowl

1991 California Bowl

1989 California Bowl

1988 California Bowl

1985 California Bowl

1982 California Bowl