Passages: Long-Time Mercyhurst Water Polo Coach Curtis Robinette, 41

Photo Courtesy: Mercyhurst Athletics

Passages: Long-Time Mercyhurst Water Polo Coach Curtis Robinette, 41

Mercyhurst water polo head coach Curtis Robinette passed away Saturday following a battle with cancer. He was just 41.

Robinette was set to enter his 20th season at the helm of the Lakers’ men’s and women’s water polo programs. He’d won more than 200 matches on the men’s and women’s side at Mercyhurst, accounting for all but three of the university’s total water polo wins since he was hired in 2002.


Curtis Robinette

“Curtis was not only a coach in the league – he was our friend, a peer and an inspiration to everyone he met due to his love for the sport and commitment to the development of his athletes,” Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Director of Communications Ed Haas said in a statement. “Either seeing him in person at a championship or speaking with him on the phone, his excitement for the Lakers’ program and the development of water polo was electric. The sport lost more than a coach today, it lost a man and father who cared about his athletes and his family, the development of the next generation of leaders in water polo and the rise of water polo throughout the National Collegiate Athletic Association.”

A native of Maumee, Ohio, Robinette graduated from Slippery Rock in 2002, a four-year varsity player and two-year captain in water polo. He coached swimming at Slippery Rock and in Toledo, Ohio.

He was hired straight out of school for the second-year men’s water polo program at Mercyhurst. After going 1-48 in his first two seasons, he worked his record back to nearly .500 at 209-215 all-time with 12 winning seasons, including 11 in a row. He took over the women’s team in 2003, posting a 204-237-1 mark.

Robinette was named the CWPA Western Division Coach of the Year in 2008, making the Lakers the first Division II team to qualify for the Eastern Championship since 2004. On the men’s side, he led the Lakers to their first Division II Eastern Championship title in 2006. They won the first ever West Division title in the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference in 2016. Robinette has also mentored a number of coaches who’ve gone on to take the helm of other programs.

Robinette is survived by his wife Molly, their two sons, Owen and Finn, and their daughter, Poppy.