Imposing. That's the word Brock Lesnar's former coach at the
University of Minnesota used to describe WWE's newest star.
"When I first saw him in North Dakota (at Bismarck Junior Col-
lege) I couldn't believe how imposing he was. That's what stands
out. Most collegiate wrestlers aren't built like that," said
But it wasn't just the massive neck and shoulders that Lesnar
had. The guy could wrestle, as evidenced by his 111-6 record
(23 pins) as a collegian.
At the time he weighed 265 pounds. Now he packs a solid 295
on 6-foot-3 frame.
"He was a late developer. In high school he only took third
in the state. He won in college by spending a lot of time in
the weight room," Robinson said.
It paid huge dividends. After two years and an NCAA JUCO title
at Bismarck, Lesnar went 55-3 at Minnesota and finished second
as a junior and first as a senior in the NCAA tournament.
Lesnar, managed by Paul Heyman, is destined to hold WWE gold.
That's why he's being billed as The Next Big Thing. He's been
feuding with Rob Van Dam and won the King of the Ring in late
He's a physical presence inside the ring. With Heyman's cun-
ning and managerial experience, Lesnar could be a champion
"He loves to compete. He's a hard worker. I'm not at all
surprised by his success in sports entertainment," added
Robinson. "Brock learns very quickly. He began winning
at Minnesota and built a legend."
As far as his learning curve in WWE, Robinson isn't surprised
by Lesnar's quick rise.
"He had the advantage of a roomful of good partners, includ-
ing Shelton Benjamin and others. There's a world of difference
between junior college and Division I, just like there is be-
tween amateur and professional wrestling," he said.
"I knew it (pro wrestling) was in the back of his mind. I went
to school with (talent scout and former wrestler) Jerry Brisco.
He contacted me about Brock and I passed it along to him."
But Brisco and WWE were patient as Lesnar toiled in the amateur
"They had no contact with him until he graduated. Then he got
a hold of Jerry and worked it out," Robinson said.
How does a coach who has devoted his career to the amateur
ranks feel about the scripted world of sports entertainment?
"I'm not one to go to the events. But if guys want to do it,
it's a great avenue to earn some money. I support Brock and
Shelton and anyone else who wants to try it."
The solitude of wrestling is something Lesnar is accustomed
to, says his former coach.
"It's an individual thing. It requires a work ethic. They're
used to long hours and training and being focused and setting
"Athletically, they can do some things other guys can't.
Brock's been working on the mats and in the weight room for
10 or 12 years."
Lesnar's not forgotten his past.
"He comes back and hangs out with the guys. He attended a
fund-raiser we had for one of his former teammates. He stays
connected with his roots," Robinson said.
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