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Longtime youth coach named YMCA's 'strong leader'

BY Dave Nicholson
Plant City Courier

Published:   |   Updated: June 24, 2013 at 11:47 AM

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Previous winners

2003: Mike Sparkman

2004: Betty Chambers

2005: Randy Larson

2006: Cindy Churchill

2007: Rick and Di Lott

2008: Sherrie Mueller

2009: Tommy Warnock

2010: Fred Johnson

2011: B.M. "Mac" Smith Jr.

2012: David Miller

PLANT CITY A man who has spent a life helping youngsters will receive an annual Plant City Family YMCA award for community service.

"Coach Dave" Robbins will be honored at the Aug. 27 Strong Leader Dinner for his commitment to the area's youth. Tickets are on sale now.

Robbins said he felt humbled.

"It's quite an honor but there are a number of other folks who deserve it just as much. I feel very fortunate," he said.

Robbins was born in Lake Wales and moved to Plant City in 1958, a year after graduating from Lake Wales High School.

Robbins started volunteering as a basketball coach in 1967. Two years later, he formed a youth basketball league sponsored by the Plant City Recreation and Parks Department and Plant City Optimist Club. Robbins has been director of the league for the past 44 years.

"All I ever wanted to do was coach," he said.

Robbins also has served as an assistant basketball coach at Plant City, Lake Gibson and George Jenkins high schools for a total of about 40 years. He is still an assistant coach for the Raiders.

In addition, Robbins is a charter member of the Plant City High Athletic Booster Club and operates the concessions for all Plant City High games.

His service goes beyond sports.

He has served as chairman of the Plant City Optimist Club's annual Christmas tree sales drive and served as chairman of the club's annual oratorical contest. He also is a volunteer at South Florida Baptist Hospital.

He retired after more than 40 years of service as facilities manager with Southland Corp., parent company of the 7-Eleven convenience store chain.

The YMCA dinner in his honor will be at the John R. Trinkle Center on the Plant City campus of Hillsborough Community College, 1206 N. Park Road. The evening starts with cocktails at 6:30 p.m., dinner at 7 and the program at 8.

Individual tickets are $75 per person. Table sponsorships are available for $1,000 and include a table for eight.

Money raised during the night benefit the YMCA's programs.

For tickets or information, contact Plant City Family YMCA membership director Reagan Thomas at Reagan.Thomas@tampaymca.org or marketing coordinator Leigh Scott at Leigh.Scott@tampaymca.org or call either woman at (813) 757-6677.

Twitter: @dnicholsonTrib


(813) 394-5103

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