Former Western Maryland Warriors owner, general manager, and head coach Julien Robinson will now assume GM and head coaching duties with the New England Bobcats as that franchise continues preparations for an imminent move out of the Elite Indoor Football League. The deal, which had been in the making since the end of the EIFL regular season, was formally announced yesterday by Bobcats owner Cynthia Hudson.
Robinson brings a wealth of experience and leadership to the Bobcats. This past season, he led the Warriors to an 8-2 record and was the only coach to beat the Bobcats in their historic 9-1 inaugural season. That record earned the Warriors third seed in the EIFL playoffs earlier in July, but travel issues forced them to withdraw before the postseason, leaving open the question of how far Robinson may have taken them.
Before organizing the Warriors, Robinson served two years as defensive coordinator for the Washington Eagles in the AIF and one as head coach for the Baltimore Vengeance, a nomadic team which played six seasons, the last in 2017 as part of the Mid-Atlantic Indoor Football League. In Baltimore, he joined a franchise on life support. With the assistance of partner Colin McGuinn, the pair resuscitated that season, playing out most of their schedule before folding in May 2017. The front office experience was invaluable to Robinson. From the ashes of the Vengeance, he and McGuinn launched the Western Maryland Warriors before the year was out.
Robinson’s signing is the biggest coup in a busy summer in New England. Shortly after the Bobcats’ championship win on June 30, both offensive and defensive coordinators learned they would not be returning as final details to bring Robinson on board were being worked out. He’ll become the franchise’s first GM and second head coach, a dual role he can’t wait to start in the busy summer ahead.
“I think this move will be good for everyone involved,” he said of his new challenge in New England. “I bring a more in-your-face approach to the players and a little bit more experience with the indoor game. Bringing that to the table should make us a stronger organization. [Our goal is to] win games while helping build the brand and getting out there in the community.”
With Robinson, Hudson has seemingly filled her only needs, getting the front office and sidelines assistance she lacked in 2018 despite dominating the EIFL. The Bobcats played the past season without a head coach, although the title previously belonged to A.J. Perez, who held it for a brief stint during camp. Having one shot-caller to coordinate offense, defense, and special teams will be an upgrade from the stovepipe system of separate coordinators employed this past season, but Robinson’s skills go far beyond even that.
“He was the most important piece and kept us all together,” said Warriors wide receiver Dwayne Marshall, who earned the league’s Most Valuable Offensive Player honors in his one season under Robinson. “He’s not only a good coach but a great recruiter so that will be missed.”
With Robinson’s assistance, Marshall got a foot in the AFL door this past spring, getting time on the Baltimore Brigade’s practice squad. With the Brigade playing in the Arena Bowl this weekend, Marshall is hoping that exposure yields big dividends, but in the meantime he’s grateful for his one-and-done with Robinson.
“Now that he’s left, people know of the Warriors nationally. It will open doors for others to come and play to earn opportunities all over football, both indoor and outdoor.”
A signing like this would ordinarily qualify as a bombshell around the EIFL, but the Bobcats are jumping leagues in 2019. Robinson is more than just another bullet in an already-loaded gun, and his signing signals a much bigger announcement to come. He is a proven recruiter and talent developer who worked with a number of players who found their way into the American Arena League last year. He himself is ready for the A3 tier, and the Bobcats are building a new roster with first tryouts set for September. Nothing is firmed up, but the Bobcats look to be a lock in next year’s reformatted American Arena League.
As for the Warriors, Robinson says there is a future.
“We are set up so that, no matter who moves up, the Warriors will still play on.”
As of today, they have not affiliated with the EIFL for 2019. Although there’s still time, it’s more probable they will join a stronger Mid-Atlantic Indoor Football League next year.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Kenny Melanson as a second Bobcats head coach. Melanson was never officially given the role, and the reference has been removed.