Q & A... James Robbins
James Robbins, Physical Education Equiptment Manager
Photo: DeShelia Hall
James Robbins was born in 1964 in Durham, North Carolina. He has one half-brother and one half-sister both of
Durham. Robbins is married and has one daughter, Ebone Robbins. Ebone is four year old. Her name means
"beautiful one." Robbins enjoys his job at N.C. Central University. His wife is also employed at N.C. Central..
Where did you grow up?
I am what they might call a "Durhamite." I am from Durham and then we moved to New Jersey.
Did you attend college?
Yes, I did attend college at NCCU.
What is your educational background?
I was a North Carolina Central University music education major. People say shouldnít you be in the
music department, but I do work with the band by writing drills. I assist Robin Reeves, the first
black female to be a head band director. It has also been brought to my attention that she may even
be the first female director, black or white, at a university.
What is your exact job title?
My job title is Equipment Manager for Physical Education.
What are your hours on a regular day?
Actually, I have been coming in on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Those classes donít need my
help until 10:00 a.m., so I come at 9:00 a.m. During marching band season I come in a little earlier
and Iíll get off at about 5 p.m.
How long have you been working at NCCU?
I have been working here about six years with the Physical Education Department. I started as a tennis
coach, two years before I got involved in physical education.
What were a few of the other jobs you had at N.C. Central?
Well I taught several instructors how to use certain software. I worked at IBM before coming here. If
an instructor needed help and assistance and nobody was able to help them then I would volunteer my
services and teach them how to use the different software.
What are your duties in the physical education department?
I issue baskets for classes so students can put their possessions away. I issue towels to the swimming
classes and washing towels--I have a workstudy student who helps me with that. I string raquetballs and tennis
raquets. Also, I set up for classes. For example, I would set up the net for the volleyball class. There are
other things we do, like helping instructors with computers if needed.
Do you implement any new programs in your department?
No I donít, but we had talked about setting up a country club type environment. Itís called faculty and
staff hour. It would be more for the faculty and staff. This would give faculty and staff time to work
out, swim, or play raquetball without students being present. This would be like a relaxation time. The
idea is still up in the air. I think it would do really well. For physical education, the tennis courts
are in bad condition. They need to be resurfaced. Theyíre in bad shape for tennis classes , but itís in
even worse shape for a tennis match. Also, I would like to see football and basketball offered as a class.
What are your ambitions in life?
I would like to have another child and have a long, long, long life with my better half and my children. I
would like to be around to watch Central grow to the level we know it could be. Honestly, I want a happy
life with family and friends.
What type of relationship do you have with the students?
I love the students. We hold conversations about normal things and they are great people.
How did you get the nickname "Butch"?
Well, I come from a long line of "Jameses." And they had all of the nicknames they pretty much sounded the
same. My grandmother pulled "Butch" out of the air and it just stuck.
What are your hours on a regular day?
Actually, I have been coming in on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Those classes donít need my help until
10:00am, so I come at 9:00am. During marching band season I come in a little earlier and Iíll get off at
Has your staff helped you a lot since youíve been at NCCU?
Yes, tremendously. I also must thank Darren Logan, the operations manager, Curtis Harris, the productions
manager, Alexis Johnson,the kitchen manager, Michael Williams, the catering manager, and Nicole Haith, the
office manager. During the snow storm everyone was snowed in and could not get out. These people live four
or five miles from Central. They all walked to work, myself included, so we could get food to the students.
We are all committed and dedicated to Central.
Thank you for sharing your time with the Campus Echo.
Interview & transcription by DeShelia Hall