At Haas Pavilion, a standing 'O' as in 'Obama'

28 January 2009

Craig Robinson(Kelley Cox,

College hoops and U.S. politics may have little in common, but the twain do meet on occasion.

Take last week, for example, when Oregon State basketball coach Craig Robinson (right) attended Tuesday's inauguration of his brother-in-law, Barack Obama, on the Capitol Mall in Washington, and led his Beavers to victory over the Bears two nights later. When Robinson and Co. took the court, Cal fans clearly in a celebratory mood before the game, at least, and basking in the afterglow of the inauguration gave him a rousing ovation.

Coach Robinson, the brother of First Lady Michelle Obama, seemed surprised and moved by the warm greeting he got from the crowd described by The New York Times as "the often hostile fans at Berkeley."

Robinson, who spent Inauguration night in the Lincoln Bedroom and last Thursday night with his team at Berkeley's Claremont Hotel, told the Associated Press after the game: "Tuesday was a special, special day for me, for my family, for the country, and the reception the students gave me almost choked me up as much as Tuesday did. Cal students are going to have a spot in my heart. They didn't have to do that. It was a fantastic gesture from a bunch of kids."