Robinson speaks on being a winner

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The message from John Robinson to Rite of Passage students was clear: They are already winners.

And if anybody knows about winning, it's Robinson, who had successful stints as football coach at USC and the Los Angeles Rams before coming to UNLV where he is now the football coach. Robinson spoke at ROP during the school's spring graduation ceremony on Thursday.

"I say this sincerely," said Robinson when praising ROP. Robinson said he didn't know of any place where "there's been more commitment to making winners."

Robinson said he didn't realize how special of a place ROP is until he arrived.

"It's very impressive," he said. "I was just coming down to make a speech. Sinve I've been here, I've really felt the energy.

"You're going to be winners. You're in the process of becoming winners. You should be very proud."

Robinson also praised the ROP staff. "You're doing something for other people," he said.

He said it's important that there are those who are willing to help because young people who want to become successful need help. An example of that is Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Keyshawn Johnson, who Robinson coached at USC.

Robinson said Johnson was selling drugs on the street when he was 9-years-old and there was a time when he had no family. But when he came to USC, he was willing to ask for help and achieved all of his goals, Robinson said.

Robinson also joked about his long-time friend, former Oakland Raiders coach and NFL broadcaster John Madden. He jokingly accused Madden, who can be seen on ACE Hardware commercials, of false advertising.

"That's really phony," Robinson said. "He's never lifted a rake or hammer or anything."

Robinson also joked about a time when he asked Madden to make an appearance after he came to UNLV. Robinson said he was driving Madden to the engagement when a police officer pulled Robinson over for not wearing a seat belt.

Robinson said he asked Madden to vouch for him that he was wearing a seat belt. Robinson said Madden replied, "I know better to argue with him (Robinson) when he's been drinking."

Robinson said even those who are successful aren't perfect. "Everybody has been in the position in your life where you doubt yourself," he said. "There are several things that winners do or that winners have."

Among those attributes is those who are successful are able to control their thoughts and think about one matter at a time. They are also able to remove all negative thoughts and think just positively. A perfect example of that is Johnson, Robinson said.

He also said winners develop habits that lead to winning. He said one of his star players at UNLV still hasn't developed those habits.

The player loves Nintendo and will stay up until 2 or 3 a.m. playing video games.

"He could become one of the best football players in America," said Robinson if the player develops winning habits.

In addition, Robinson said self-esteem is important and that successful people don't hang around those who think negatively.


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