Craig Buckley

Doctor Robinson

When I transferred into Bridgewater State College in 2001 I had no idea the impact it would have on my life.  I had already decided that I wanted to be a Strength and Conditioning professional, but I hadn’t really wanted to put the effort into being a good student.  Then I met Doctor Robinson in 2002, her positive attitude toward teaching and learning motivated me to put more effort into all of my academic subjects, which changed my life.  Our relationship continued to grow into a teacher, coach and friend connection.  This enabled me to grow as an Athlete, Student and Coach and has helped me throughout my career and made it possible to obtain the position I am in today.  Now as a Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Doctor Robinson is the first person I call when I need new employees.  I try to emulate Doc’s attitude of always learning, and improving and welcoming questions from employees and student athletes.

Back in 2002 when I met Doc, I had no idea that I would continue at Bridgewater State right into the Graduate Program in Strength and Conditioning.  Doctor Robinson brings out the best in everyone.  To this day she is the best Teacher, Coach and Friend I have ever had.

Craig Buckley Head Strength & Conditioning Coach, Bryant University
Anna Shoolroy
Anna Shoolroy

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Anna Shoolroy RWL Weightlifting Team
Tim Cain
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Tim Cain RWL Weightlifting Team


Steve Condon

Coach Ellyn Robinson, also known as “Doc”, and Robinson Weightlifting Club has been an almost indescribable blessing to me at this stage of life.

For the last 4-plus years I have enjoyed the coaching and friendship of Coach Ellyn.

Through the gracious generosity of Coach Ellyn I have been allowed to workout and compete with the Robinson Weightlifting team. As with any organization the personality of the team comes from the top down. The members of the team, without exception, have been welcoming and supportive. The inevitable tough days in training are invariably offset by the steady encouragement of Coach Ellyn and her team.

It is obvious that Coach Ellyn’s concept of “Team” emphasizes that every member of the team is important and that teammate support is a priority.

One of her strengths is the ability to adjust workouts based on the athlete’s needs. It is a joy to observe Coach Ellyn coach a large group of athletes that are functioning at different levels. As an older person I appreciate her understanding of how to coach people that have physical limitations and also her willingness to do so.

7.5 year old Steve

7.5 year old Steve

Coach Ellyn’s friendship and advice has made me into a better person. Not only do I believe this but also my spouse has expressed the same thought without solicitation.

As stated before, “at this stage of life” being associated with Coach Ellyn Robinson and the Robinson Weightlifting Club has been a blessing. She and her group have provided me the opportunity for growth both physical and emotional that few people my age get.

Although “there is still no cure for the common birthday” I hope that Coach Ellyn, the Robinson Weightlifting Club, and I can have many more years together.

Steve Condon RWL Weightlifting Team
Caitlin Chappell

One of the best journeys I have ever embarked on is becoming a part of Robinson Weightlifting.  Although I have only been involved with RWL for a short period of time it has positively influenced my life in many ways.

First, is the coaching, Doc oozes positive energy and compassion. She is an amazing role model, always leading by example and I learn something new every day. Doc Robinson gets to know each of her athletes on a personal level and influences us not only in weightlifting but in life lessons too. She is Dr. Seuss to all of us crazy individuals.

Secondly is the team spirit, being part of a team again is something I have longed for, for a quite some time now. RWL is the best team I have ever been a part of, each athlete training and competing at different levels and for different reasons but everyone is always there to support and motivate each other. Again, this is influenced by Doc’s never ending positive attitude and sense of humor. Although each athlete is there to work hard and progress towards their goals, Doc is a constant reminder that we must have fun while pursuing our goals. The perfect mixture of fun and seriousness that Doc commands allows for great success among her athletes.

The third aspect of RWL that has influenced my life positively is the bar and the weights. Weightlifting is much more than meets the eye. That bar and those plates teach you more about yourself, than sometimes you’re willing to learn. Weightlifting is teaching me patience on a level I have never experienced. The lessons you learn through moving that bar on a daily basis transfer greatly to everyday life. I am 100% becoming a better individual because of RWL and the influence of Doc Robinson. I am so overjoyed and grateful to have this team and Doc in my life. Ellyn Robinson is truly building better people through weightlifting and I am so thankful to be one of those individuals. THANK YOU DOC!!

Caitlin Chappell RWL Weightlifting Team
Mike Holmes

When you train with Coach Robinson it doesn’t take long to realize that you are dealing with an expert in the highest order. You also come to realize that you are sharing company with a very special person as well. She will talk to you about having goals and ask you what yours are. When you meet those goals it is a great feeling and you can feel proud of the work you’ve done. What is truly unexpected is when you look down and realize that you are standing in a place that is well past the goals and expectations you have set. Coach Robinson knocks down the walls you build around yourself and introduces you to new possibilities. This is something that changes you in more ways than just physical strength; it’s not just about lifting weights.

Mike Holmes RWL Weightlifting Team
Stephanie Baker

To me, RWL is not just a team. It is a place. A destination. Whether it is the old timers or the beginners, it is a home away from home. An extended family. It doesn’t matter if you come to sit, visit, observe or lift. Our weight room, wherever it may be, provides a comfortable place to come together, be accepted and be encouraged. The atmosphere and camaraderie Ellyn has fostered is special & unique. We are a team yet we each compete as individuals. However, if you don’t have the team with you it’s not the same!

When I think of Robinson Weightlifting some words that come to mind are: Welcoming, fun, supportive, accepting and enthusiastic. We owe this all to Dr. Ellyn Robinson: Coach, mentor, friend and teammate. With out her, none of this would be possible. With out Ellyn, there would be no “us”. No Robinson Weightlifting. If you are a part of RWL, you know how scary that sounds! Doc, as I have been calling her for years, has devoted almost every moment of her free time to “us”, the team. Her team! She writes our programs. She works with us to fix breakdowns whether it be mental, physical or technical. Doc is right along side us every step of the way. She is dedicated, supportive and caring. She will go above and beyond to help us. Doc strives to help us get better at weightlifting and in life, and she is committed to helping each of us succeed. Ellyn Robinson is a caring, compassionate, patient and dedicated Coach. She challenges us in the most positive ways to be better than we were yesterday. She leads by example. I am very proud and very lucky to be a part of Robinson Weightlifting!

RWL and all it encompasses is not just a place or a team but a state of mind! There is nothing else like it!

Stephanie Baker RWL Weightlifting Team
Matt Baniukiewicz

I have known Dr. Robinson for years only as a professor. Recently, though, I have gotten to know Dr. Robinson on a more personal level as a coach, mentor, and most importantly as a friend.

Dr. Robinson is everything you can ask for and more as a professor, coach, mentor, and friend. She has a strong passion for teaching and sharing her knowledge with her students and treats them as she wishes to be treated—with respect, kindness, and sincerity. She is always willing to stay after class and chat about lectures, sports, or life in general. She wants the best for her students and athletes and it is so evident once you meet her. She will greet you with firm handshake and a smile, which is always on her face and contagious.

I joined the Robinson Weightlifting Team this past fall and it has been one of my best decisions. I am surrounded by positive and upbeat people, which is a testament to how Doc runs her team. Her positive attitude allows her team to grow physically and as better individuals. I can definitely speak for this because lately I have been struggling with things and Doc and my teammates have helped pick me up. I don’t know what I would do without them and their help. No matter where you are as an athlete or weightlifter, beginner or advanced, Doc will guide you to become a better athlete and a better person through her positive coaching techniques and her strong compassion for people. I stand corrected. It is not a team; it is a family and I am glad to be a part of it. Doc is a true inspiration and a true friend, and for that I thank you very much!

Matt Baniukiewicz RWL Weightlifting Team
Kat O

This took a long time to write, partly because I was determined to write it in rhyme to befit Dr Seuss, but mostly because one short page or even one hundred pages will never be able to encompass everything I have learned and everything I am grateful for because of Dr. Robinson (Seuss) and RWL. No words, not even in prose, could convey the sense of family Doc has built or explain the multitude of lessons I have learned from her. I continue to be impressed everyday by the way she carries herself and her approach to life and lifting, she is an example that I strive to follow. Her unfailing positivity is an excellent balance to my negative and harsh approach to myself. She has provided the balance I so desperately needed at critical points in my life and more importantly is teaching me to balance my life on my own and to become a positive person myself. The RWL family she has built has provided me with a family at points in my life when I felt like I didn’t have a family to go home to. She and the team have forgiven me my faults and celebrated my strengths and pushed me to grow and get better. I have never before encountered a person so willing to see the best in people and so capable of bringing that best to the forefront. Doc has seen me at my absolute worst, and yet she still has more faith in me as a lifter and as a person than I would think possible. And just the fact that I ended that sentence with “than I would think possible” instead of “than I deserve” goes to show how much Doc’s faith and positivity have changed me and helped me. I can only hope to pay forward the help I have received from Doc and the team and be as good a teammate as I can to everyone because that is what Doc and RWL deserve.

No words, not even in prose

Can tell of the love and care,

That day by day grows and grows.

Big weights and small

Good days and bad

The team is there for it all.

With a laugh or a hug,

They pick you up when you fall.

The team is a family, this much is clear.

With Dr Seuss at the wheel,

Choosing the direction to steer.

And so together we go,

Onwards and upwards,

Some fast, and some slow.

But always together,

Helping each other grow.

Kat O'Neill MS Candidate BSU, Strength and Conditioning Graduate Assistant, CSCS, USA Weightlifting Level 1, Assistant Coach RWL Weightlifting
Jared Mello

Where do I start? Is it with how amazing Doc is for working with her athletes and students and giving each one his/her own attention when necessary? Is it with her ability to build and maintain each individual relationship with every member of this team? Or is it with her extensive knowledge in seemingly every aspect of life? With her ability to befriend and also command respect from anyone she meets? Or maybe I should start on a more personal level with everything she has helped me overcome in the past two years that I’ve gotten to know her? How about I start by keeping it simple: Dr. Robinson, “Doc”, Ellyn, Thank You.

I could probably ramble on for longer than I could if I had to write a research paper, but I’ll keep it concise. Words simply cannot describe how grateful I am for having the opportunity to not only meet someone so wonderful, but to be able to call her my coach, my teacher, and my friend. Her knowledge is endless, her heart is tremendous, and her spirit monumental. And this resonates through each member of this wonderful team.

The atmosphere training in Kelly each day is amazing; there is always a positive attitude that begins with Doc entering with her signature “Good Morning.” The relationships that I have built with some of the members are unlike any other, as each is as unique as the person themselves. I honestly feel that we are more of a family than we are just teammates or friends.

I feel like I have grown both as a weight lifter and as a person. It truly has been a privilege to be able to say that I am a member of RWL. And all of this was made possible under the tutelage of Dr. Robinson. As I tell anyone who asks or is willing to listen, becoming a member of RWL was hands down one of the best decisions I have ever made. I truly am grateful beyond words.

Jared Mello RWL Weightlifting Team
Ally Treen MS, LAT, ATC, USA W-1

Knowing Dr. Robinson has not only been a privilege but an honor. Being an Athletic Training major, I knew of Dr. Robinson from the beginning. It wasn’t until my first semester of senior year that my life was changed by knowing her. As a professor, a coach, a mentor, a friend, and an RWL family member, she has impacted my life in many ways. I would never be where I am today if I had not met her.

She has been there for not only me, but for every member of Robinson Weightlifting, for every student, for other faculty members, for anyone who needed her. She is, hands down, the strongest person I have ever met. As my advisor, she helped me get through graduate school, while working full time as a newly certified athletic trainer. She taught me how to handle all the curve balls thrown at me. We had a joke while I was in grad school that she couldn’t retire until I graduated. Now that I have graduated and am employed at Bridgewater State University full time- I still won’t let her retire until I leave!

After graduating, it was time for me to look for a job. Without her help, I would still be searching. When the odds were not in my favor, she went above and beyond to make sure I got the job. And for that, I will be forever grateful. There are many more of these stories, where Doc has gone above and beyond for me- too many to count.

Doc is our fearless leader. She is our inspiration. She is our role model and our hero. There is one quote of hers that I will always carry with me. “There is only one thing you can control in life and that is your attitude, so make it a good one!” This has molded me as a person and as a professional and I will forever live by it. RWL has been an amazing experience. It is a privilege to have been a part of it and to have the experience to know Dr. Robinson.

Ally Treen MS, LAT, ATC, USA W-1 Bridgewater State University, Team Head Athletic Trainer, RWL Weightlifting Team
Matt McLaughlin

Dr. Robinson is the type of person you can only hope to encounter in a lifetime. Describing her as my coach would be an extreme understatement. In the past 4-5 years she has been my professor, advisor, coach, and ultimately my mentor. I am a former 4-year college athlete, and I have learned under several coaches throughout my athletic career. With each coach came valuable lessons that have helped me grow as an athlete, coach, and person.

I continue to take Dr. Robinson’s knowledge and experience throughout my professional and personal life. Doc’s contagious attitude and constant sacrifice for her team is inspirational. Having Doc as a coach is an absolute privilege, and always a breath of fresh air. She provides a perpetual positive energy that ignites the gym. It all starts with her; she sets the tone, and leads by example each and every day. Whether it is in the classroom lecturing, at practice or a meet coaching, or even daily conversations; she is someone you aspire to be.

The daily challenges she presents are mentally and physically challenging. As a member of this team you will be sore, tired, and beat up. With that being said, your weights will jump, your technique will improve, and Dr. Robinson will always be right by your side.

Dr. Robinson coaches her team to work hard, but above all be good people. If you are a member of RWL you are committed to your team, and always strive to “Get Better” in every aspect of your life. I am proud to be a part of this strong family that Dr. Robinson has built.

Matt McLaughlin Adjunct Instructor, Bridgewater State University, Sports Performance Coach, RWL Weightlifting Team
Sam Gardner

I owe any success I have had or will have, in the field of strength and conditioning, to Dr. Ellyn Robinson. She has made such a tremendous impact on my education, career and life that it is very hard to put into words how valuable a human being she truly is. Her unwavering positive attitude and outlook not only with training and the many topics that lie within the scope of sports science, but also on life as a whole, has made a great impact on me as a person.

As a slightly confused student who had recently finished his undergraduate work and was applying to many graduate programs across the country, I was unsure of what my next move would be. One of Dr. Robinson’s colleagues, Gary Valentine, recommended that I look into the program at Bridgewater State and perhaps take a USAW SPC course. I followed the advice and upon completing my USAW course, which was taught my Doc, I decided that Bridgewater State would be my best option. I am very glad I made that decision.

Doc was/is the most invigorating lecturer I have ever had the pleasure of studying under. She found ways to make topics I had not previously had much interest in seem, well, fun! I eventually worked up the courage to see if she would be willing to allow a 6’6″ skinny and somewhat awkward and washed up athlete join her weightlifting club. That move changed my whole coaching philosophy and style. I now valued weightlifting movements and their derivatives with new a perspective and was also introduced to a coaching style that was encouraging and left athletes wanting more. Weightlifting gave me something to compete at and strive to get better for day by day and week by week. All the while, Doc’s presence and attitude allowed me to have a GREAT time doing it.

Doc has continued to be receptive and communicable as I have followed different jobs around the country. She has supported me in my professional development and has been there anytime I have had questions along the way. She continues to be a constant display of a great professional, coach, and more importantly person.

I cannot thank Dr./Coach Ellyn Robinson enough for all she has done for me as a student, an athlete, a professional, and a person. She truly is “the best.”

Sam Gardner USA Olympic Training Center Strength and Conditioning Coach
Matt Murray

Having only being on the team since summer 2012, I have seen over the past several months what RWL stands for.  It is not just a weightlifting team; it is a family with all different people and personalities from all different backgrounds.  Everyone supports and cheers each other.  But what I found most impressive is that everyone picks each other up if they are having a bad day.  There is rarely a negative attitude when training with RWL.  That being said, none of this is possible without the leadership of Doc.  From the start of every training session with a simple “good morning”, Doc is always there for us.

I quickly learned about the tight knit group we had when I personally wasn’t having a good training day and Doc sent me an email that simply stated “Enjoy the journey”.  Three simple words but they meant so much.  It’s not about one moment in time, it’s about all the trials and tribulations that we share with Doc on a daily basis that makes it so much fun to wake up and train at Kelly.  The environment that Doc has created is second to none.  She fosters a positive, upbeat environment and never seems to have a bad day.  As an athlete seeing your coach give as much as Doc gives, it makes you realize that yes, you may have missed a weight, but as Doc always told me “enjoy the journey” because at the end of the day the journey with Doc and with my teammates is the best part.

Matt Murray Graduate Student, BSU Strength and Conditioning, RWL Weightlifting Team
Kledia Spiro

Nothing is so potent as the silent influence of a good example.” -James Kent.

Having a coach like Doc makes you a better athlete and a better person. She is an inspiring role model whose technical proficiency becomes evident as she coaches a team of athletes from various athletic backgrounds. Her words of encouragement and positive attitude are beyond measure. All you need is for her to watch your form and she will provide the right cue at the right time. That one cue will change the whole lift and any other problems in your lift.  Her personality is so bright and graceful yet she is so strong and focused. When you’re injured or have other problems in your life, she always understands and will welcome you back with open arms.  Every day she puts so much of herself in coaching her athletes. I am so grateful to know Dr. Robinson and have her as my coach.

Kledia Spiro RWL Weightlifting Team
My gratitude for Dr. Robinson “Doc” and RWL is immeasurable.  To convey this here is difficult; I have been a part of RWL for nearly two years.  Within those two short years my strength as an athlete and more importantly as a person has grown tremendously.  The motto “building strong PEOPLE through weightlifting” is apparent in every athlete we have.  Through Doc’s guidance I have developed a mental strength that is needed to succeed in weightlifting and in the world.  As Doc’s pupil I have excelled in the classroom, and the weight room.  I created bonds with my new teammates and strengthened those with my family and friends.

Since joining RWL in January of 2011 my development as a lifter has not always come as easily as I hoped.  But everyday progress has been made and my improvements are noticeable thanks to Dr. Robinson and the RWL family.  Through all the struggles and triumphs I have learned through Doc’s action to live in the moment, and enjoy the process.

It goes without saying the Doc has no comparison.  Her enthusiasm and knowledge for the sport and life are astounding.  She has a way of knowing just how to push to achieve great things in each person.  I can say there has been nothing that this team is not willing to help me achieve, perfect, and overcome.  I have been blessed to be a part of the Robinson Weightlifting family.

Derek 'Lettuce' Pontier Captain, RWL Weightlifting Team
Joseph “Gram” Mosher, M.Ed, ATC, C.S.C.S, USAW
You think that writing a testimonial about a team you admire so much would be easy.  You think that after being a member and former Captain I would be able to verbalize what and how I feel about this team.  It is, however, very difficult because you are trying to find nice things to say, but instead trying to figure out how to include every memory, every piece of advice and every instance of how your life has been affected.  If this was just about weight lifting I could tell you how the coaching staff broke me down as a lifter and rebuilt me. If this was about Dr. Robinson as a person I could tell you how I have never worked with someone more dedicated to her career/students.  If this were about the team then I could tell you stories about how they show up everyday to compete and to get better.  Any of those three topics would fill a nice paragraph and be easy to say.  The problem is that RWL does not function in that type of singularity.  You can not have one without the other.

RWL is the perfect example of a group where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  The RWL team works synergistically within itself.  Everybody builds off of everyone else.  Not one person is in control the entire time yet there is an ability to see a very structured approach to the training sessions.  If one person is having a good day then the team has a great day.  If one person is struggling then the team works through the struggle together and does not let the day be wasted.  This team functions more as a family than a gathering of people with a common interest.

The family attitude starts at the top with the coaching staff.  Dr. Robinson, Steph and Lorie all bring an openness and acceptance to everyone.  They make you feel welcome and do what they can to show you that you can be successful no matter your training or background.  The coaching staff shows up everyday and sets the tone of the training session.  It is always positive and directed to get better today.  The athletes that train with RWL reflect this attitude.  Captains Derek and Bill lead by example.  The ability to train hard everyday and with the attitude of “No time to waste” sets the tone for the other athletes on the team to get better everyday.

In short this team succeeds because of its ability to rely on everyone to support it.  Each athlete is absolutely responsible for themselves and their success but any where you turn in the Kelly weight room you will have someone willing to take the time to help you work through your tough time/sticking point/ or mental block.  Everybody gets better together and nobody falls without at least 5 people with their hand extended to help stand you back up and dust you off.

In Greek mythology it was Atlas who held up the heavens. He bore the crushing weight on his shoulders and back as a punishment for a long ago war between the Titans and the Olympians. Dr. Robinson is not much different than Atlas in the sense that she too carries the weight of many people’s worlds on her shoulders. There is one major and important difference though, Dr. Robinson does not bear this weight as a punishment, she does it because she wants to. Her character and selflessness is unmatched by anyone I have ever met and I would bet anyone I will ever meet. It is my privilege to call her my coach, my colleague and most importantly my friend!

Thank you for holding up my world when I could swear the skies were crashing on my head!

Joseph “Gram” Mosher, M.Ed, ATC, C.S.C.S, USAW Assistant Athletic Trainer, New York University
Kevin O
I have had the pleasure of interacting with some extraordinary coaches, teachers, and associates. Without question, Dr. Robinson is one of the finest. I was lucky enough to attain my Masters Degree under her watchful eye at Bridgewater State College. It cannot be overstated that Doc does an amazing job as an educator and role model. In addition to making me a better teacher, coach, and lifter, studying under Doc made me a better person. Along with her ability to instill work ethic and character, her passion and caring attitude toward her students is what separates her from so many in her field.

Currently the Director of a private training facility, Doc is always the first person I call when I need a new intern or employee. When Doc sends me someone from her program(s), I know they will have the knowledge, desire, and professionalism that are developed under her tutelage. Involving yourself in any of Doc’s programs and projects is a privilege that I wish everyone had the chance to experience.

Kevin O'Neill, MS, CSCS, USA W Level 1 Director, Athletic Based Training
Michael Ward
I feel very privileged to have known Dr. Robinson since 2005 and to have lifted under her coaching since the early days of RWL.  In those years she’s been my teacher, advisor, mentor, coach, friend, and part of my family.  If I could have seen on day 1 all that I would experience in the sport of weightlifting and in my personal life with Doc and with RWL, I would have never believed it to be possible.

Doc exemplifies what it means to live every day with passion and enthusiasm.  Whether it was in the classroom, on the platform, or in life, she’s inspired me to want to be a better athlete, coach and person and she’s always done all that she could to help me succeed.  I asked once if she wouldn’t mind singing to me before I took the competition platform to lift and ever since she’s had a full lineup of songs ready to go at each meet.

She was there for me when I needed reconstructive surgery to repair a hockey injury and was always there to keep me thinking positively during my long rehabilitation and return to the platform.

When I made the lift to win my weight class in my first meet back, I thought that I was the happiest person in the room until I saw the proud smile on Doc’s face.  She always goes the extra mile for each one of her athletes and takes pride in seeing our successes.  RWL promotes the tradition of sportsmanship and professionalism and really does build strong people through weightlifting.

Michael Ward Adjunct Instructor, Fitchburg State University

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