Amber Benoit, Staff Reporter
April 11, 2012
It’s not often that a Central Washington University graduate plans on returning to Ellensburg. Yet, that’s exactly where Malik Roberson, finds himself as the new Central football defensive coordinator.
Roberson never planned on coming back to Ellensburg after graduating; nevertheless he was excited by the opportunity to return.
“It intrigued me to come back to Ellensburg and be a part of this great tradition that’s been going on here over the years,” Roberson said. “I thought being in a new role for me there would be no better fit than to start my new journey at Central Washington.”
Roberson, a Spokane native, is a Central alumnus. He was a standout player on the defensive line and competed as a Wildcat for two seasons, including the 1995 NAIA Division II national championship team.
Since leaving Central and successfully coaching NCAA Division I at Portland State, Eastern Washington and Washington State, Roberson is continuing his successful career by returning to his roots.
Head Coach Blaine Bennett believes that Roberson is an excellent candidate.
“His Division I experience in the coaching profession is a huge factor for me and his connection to Central,” Bennett said. “He is someone who has a great love for the community and that really sets him apart.”
Bennett hopes that Roberson’s connection to Washington will play an integral role in Central’s recruiting tradition.
“He will continue to help us recruit the state of Washington,” Bennett said. “We try to sign all of our high school student athletes from the state.”
Roberson is excited to step in and is looking toward spring ball and next season. Having moved from Division I coach to Division II coach, he has to adjust his coaching style just a little.
“Football is football; the fundamentals won’t change,” Roberson said. “I just need to be aware of the resources we have and will have to be innovative to get the same results.”
Coach Bennett is also looking forward to the upcoming season and Roberson’s role.
“We have a high standard here for our defensive…and we have high expectations for Coach Roberson,” Bennett said.
The defense will be intense under Roberson’s coaching.
“The objective is to be a really aggressive defense. We’ll be physical and a bit more flexible than we have in the past,” Roberson said. “Our identity will be to fly around and be aggressive.”
It’s not just Roberson who is excited to be in Ellensburg, his wife and young daughters are excited for the move. With Roberson’s extended family on both the eastern and western side of the state, they are glad to be in Ellensburg between their families. Roberson and his wife also have an older son.
Football is a family sport for the Roberson’s.
“[My family] will be here fully loaded and my daughter in their cheer outfits ready to go,” Roberson said.
Roberson officially started his position on March 30. He has already had the opportunity to meet and work with the defense. Spring ball starts at the end of April. The annual spring game, where the team scrimmages, will take place May 12 at Tomlinson Stadium. Kick-off is set for noon and will be a part of the Family Weekend festivities.