Robbie Laing was named an assistant coach for UCF Men’s Basketball in April of 2016 under head coach Johnny Dawkins.
The Knights went 24-12 in his first season on staff, recording the sixth best turnaround in the nation. With just seven scholarship players due to transfers and injuries, the Knights earned the fourth seed – their highest ever – in the American Athletic Conference Tournament, eventually falling to league champion SMU in the semifinals.
A season full of firsts, UCF hosted its first NIT game in 2016-17, defeating Colorado for the program’s first ever win in an NIT or NCAA Tournament game. The Knights went on to defeat top seeded Illinois State on the road, before coming home to the first ever sell-out crowd at CFE Arena and winning 68-58 over Illinois to earn a spot in the NIT Final Four.
UCF led all of NCAA Division I in defensive field goal percentage in 2016-17, holding opponents to just 36.5 percent from the floor. The Knights were also sixth in the nation, allowing only 61.2 points per game, and gave up 45 or less points in four games over the course of the year.
In year two on staff, the Knights had to deal with significant injuries to three of their best players. Aubrey Dawkins missed the entire season with a shoulder injury, B.J. Taylor missed the first half of the season, and Tacko Fall missed the second half of the year. Taylor and Fall only played one game together.
Through the injuries, the Knights finished with a 19-13 record, second only to the previous season record in the last five years of UCF Basketball. The team also had a number of firsts in year two, including their first win on the road at Memphis and their first road win over a ranked opponent.
And the defense was as good as ever, holding three opponents under 40 points, setting a new program record by holding SMU to just 37 points, and ranking third in the nation with a scoring defense of 61.7 points per game.
From 2003-13 Laing was the head coach at Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina, for 10 seasons. Laing’s most successful season came in 2009-10 when he guided the Camels to an Atlantic Sun Conference regular season title, winning a school record 19 games. He was tabbed the league’s Coach of the Year that season along with being recognized as the District 3 Coach of the Year by the National Basketball Coaches Association. The following season, Laing and the Camels were ranked in the mid-major college top-25 poll for the first time in school history.
During his career, Laing has been an assistant coach at a number of Division I programs, including Florida Atlantic (2014-16), Kansas State (2000-03), Southern Mississippi (1999-00), Auburn (1994-96), Clemson (1993-94), Georgia Southern (1984-86, 1987-93), Western Kentucky (1986-87) and Troy (1982-84).
He got his first collegiate head coaching job in 1996 at Jones Junior College in Ellisville, Mississippi, where he spent three seasons at the helm.
Laing graduated from Lakeside High School in Eufaula, Alabama, where he was a standout in basketball and football. Following high school, he went to play football at Vanderbilt for one season.
He then transferred to North West Florida State to play basketball. The squad posted a 22-11 record only to see OWJC drop the program, sending Laing to Seminole State Community College, where he garnered All-America honors. Laing then transferred to Troy where he earned a degree in biology and physical education in 1982. The following year, Laing went to Georgia Southern to earn his Master’s degree in physical education.
He and his wife, Dana are parents of five children: Ansley, Christian, Earl, Madison and Nathan, who played at UCF from 2016-18.