::Barton Gave Man Second Chance At Life
By Elliott West, Raleigh Chronicle News Editor
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
WILSON, NC - For tiny Barton College to go out and win the men's basketball NCAA Division II national championship is an amazing feat that is not lost on its alumni.
North Carolina native and Barton College alumnus Darrell Robinson said he watched the finals game between Barton and Winona State at the end of March with his family in the Triangle and they were all ecstatic when they won.
"It's truly special because Barton had never even been to a national championship," said Robinson.
He said he was amazed to watch what he described as "the little team that could" and it was great to see his alma mater win in such a stunning fashion.
Barton was down by four points with under a minute left in the game and eventually came within one point of Winona State. With only a few seconds remaining, Barton College stole the ball and made a final lay-up to win the game by one point.
"To go and win in such a dramatic fashion just does my heart good as an alumnus," said Robinson.
A Second Chance
"I wept as I thought that in a lot of ways their [basketball] team was a lot like me," he added. "No one gave them a chance."
Basketball wins aside, Robinson said that he is grateful that Barton College gave him a second chance in life. In 1999, Barton College gave Robinson a chance to improve his life by allowing him to attend the college on a full scholarship.
Robinson says that entering Barton College was a turning point in his life. After dropping out of high school and working at several jobs, Robinson found that life was taking him down paths that were leading nowhere. Making matters worse, Robinson even lost use of his right hand in a workplace accident.
Deciding to turn his life around, Robinson eventually earned his GED high school equivalency diploma and applied to Barton College which is located in Wilson, North Carolina about 45 miles east of Raleigh.
Barton College gave him a full scholarship to attend the school and in return, Robinson did not let the school down. In 2003, he finished number one in his major of criminal justice and graduated magna cum laude.
"Truly, I'm the little guy who could because I'm a high school dropout," said Robinson.
After graduation, Robinson went to law school at North Carolina Central University's School of Law and arfter graduation, landed a job in Maryland. After passing the Maryland bar exam, now works with the State of Maryland in public service where he lives with his wife and children.
Although Barton College should certainly celebrate their first ever NCAA Championship Division II victory, the school seems to have already been winning in the classroom as it has changed many students' lives for the better.
Within just a few years, Robinson went from being a high school drop-out to becoming a attorney in the service of the public.
Robinson says that he is eternally grateful to Barton College for their decision to give him a second chance and that he hopes to continue to make good on the school's investment in him.
"I'm proud of them and I hope they're proud of me too," said Robinson. ::