Tom Robinson, longtime Associate Commissioner of the Colorado High School Activities Association and co-founder of Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, has died

Robinson was a beloved and influential figure in Colorado’s high school arts and athletics communities.

(Ryan Casey/

Colorado mourns the loss of Tom Robinson, longtime Associate Commissioner of the Colorado High School Activities Association, co-founder of Cleo Parker Robinson Dance and husband of its namesake director, Cleo Parker Robinson. Robinson died early Monday morning after a battle with several health issues, including colon cancer, according to a rep for Cleo Parker Robinson Dance.

Robinson was an influential and beloved high school sports figure in Colorado. In 2001, he became the first black administrator of CHSAA, the governing organization for all high school operations in the state. He was widely respected throughout his 20 years there for his passion, dedication and integrity. He was also president of the National Association of Sports Officials and he worked as a replay coordinator for the Big-12 conference. Robinson announced in December that he would retire from CHSAA at the end of the 2021-22 school year.

“Beyond the impact Tom has had in this association, our state and nationally over his 30+ year career as a coach, teacher, administrator, white hat umpire, Temple of fame, Big 12 proofreading expert, husband, father and grandfather, we are all better people to have had Tom in our lives,” CHSAA Commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green said in a statement Monday.

“Even from the outside, Tom was definitely someone to aspire to,” Rashaan Davis, CHSAA’s first-ever assistant commissioner overseeing operations, said in the CHSAA statement. “He always seemed cool and calm and composed, which is what I needed. So being a staff member now and understanding that Tom laid the groundwork for me to be a black man working at CHSAA and to be an educator stepping into this role, being patient and acknowledging all voices at this level is very powerful, I don’t think anyone has done it better.

“It’s like standing on the shoulders of a giant and I hope the work we all do continues its legacy,” Davis wrote.

This May would have marked Robinson’s 52nd wedding anniversary to Cleo Parker Robinson. The couple founded Cleo Parker Robinson Dance the year they married. Together they created a beloved cultural institution in Denver and a dance company widely respected around the world.

“Tom has been an inspiration in so many ways,” CHSAA Assistant Commissioner Bethany Brookens said in a statement. “He taught me how to play golf, he and Cleo taught us all how to have a wonderful and successful marriage, he taught me the formal mechanics of basketball and he gave me loyal friendship and respect. for all. Incredible, ethical and good man and mentor; I already miss Tom a lot.

Robinson was a graduate of Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora. In 1969, he graduated from Colorado State University, where he competed in football, basketball, and track and field. He returned to Regis Jesuit as a teacher in 1969, where he taught mathematics and coached several sports. Most notably, he worked as Regis’ head basketball coach from 1983 to 1993. After 31 years working at the school, he became assistant commissioner of the CHSAA in 2001.

Robinson is survived by his wife and their son Malik Robinson, Director General of the CPRD.

This is a developing story. We’ll update it when we know more.

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