Callum Robinson, 33, remembered for his play and personality with Stevenson men’s lacrosse

A couple of weeks ago, Peter Green called Stevenson men’s lacrosse teammate Callum Robinson to ask him to be a groomsman for his wedding in October. Green was worried that Robinson, a native of Perth, Australia, who lived in San Diego might not have enough time to renew his visa.

“I wanted to make sure that I got a date for the wedding that would coincide with his ability to be there,” said Green, a Hereford native and graduate. “He said, ‘Without a doubt. No matter what, mate, I’ll make it happen.’”

That comment exemplified the depth of loyalty Robinson reserved for family and friends. And that quality, among many others, is what many of those will miss about Robinson, who was found dead Friday with his brother and their friend in Mexico.

Robinson, his brother Jake and friend Jack Carter Rhoad went missing during a surfing trip in Mexico after not checking in at an Airbnb they had reserved for April 27. Their bodies were found Friday in Baja California, and Stevenson athletic director Brett Adams said in a statement Saturday morning that they are “believed to be the victims of foul play.”

Robinson was 33, too young for such a farewell. Those who knew him said the past few days have been unbearable.

“It’s been the hardest 48 hours of my life,” Green said.

“It’s been horrific,” said former Mustangs faceoff specialist Brent Hiken, a Pikesville resident and graduate. “He was one of one. There will never be anybody else like him.”

In a text message, Premier Lacrosse League co-founder Paul Rabil, who played with Robinson from 2019 to 2021 as members of the Atlas, called him the “epitome of a perfect teammate.”

“You could be down 10-2 at half — he would look you straight in the eyes and tell you how great you were and how there was no doubt in his mind we would come back and win,” Rabil wrote. “He always meant it. And we always believed him. [That’s] why it makes it hard to not believe he’s not coming back from this.”

Robinson was initially slated to play lacrosse at Maryland, but plans changed. Former Terps midfielder Adam Sear, who was a graduate assistant at Stevenson, approached Mustangs coach Paul Cantabene about recruiting Robinson, who arrived on campus a week after the 2012 fall semester had started because of visa issues.

“I think my first impression of him was, ‘This is a larger-than-life man,’” Cantabene recalled. “He’s 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, but he had the biggest smile ever. He was almost like a superhero.”

Hiken, who had transferred from CCBC Essex just before Robinson’s arrival, said the latter made a quick impression on his future teammates.

“I remember him coming in with a tank top and jean shorts into the weight room on the first day to introduce himself to us. Our heads just spun,” Hiken said. “We were like, ‘What just walked into the room?’ He was bigger than all of us.”

Robinson’s skills were unrefined, according to former defenseman Kyle Holechek.

“I remember watching Callum on film literally chase whoever had the ball all around the field,” the Reisterstown native and Loyola Blakefield graduate said. “When he came here, we kind of had to settle him down a little bit, but it was wild to see someone that raw of a talent be that athletic.”

When starting defenseman Kyle Fendlay left the team before the start of the 2013 season to focus on being a father, Robinson slid into a starting role with Holechek and Parker Bratton. Robinson led the team in caused turnovers with 35, ranked fourth in ground balls with 73, and added three goals and two assists to help the Mustangs capture their first and only NCAA Division III national championship.

When Robinson played his final season in 2015, he was a United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association first-team All-American before being selected by the Chesapeake Bayhawks in the Major League Lacrosse draft. Holechek said every accolade was well deserved.

“If we had a matchup that required speed and strength, he was our guy,” Holechek said. “He could cover just about anyone. His job was just to chase people down and make their lives hell, and damn was he good at it.”

Former long-stick midfielder Ryan Rubenstein recalled Robinson taking out two Widener players in one swoop behind the Stevenson cage.

“He just picked up the ball and stepped over the both of them like nothing had ever happened,” the Sykesville resident and Boys’ Latin graduate said. “We probably spent 10 minutes watching that in film study.”

Former short-stick defensive midfielder Marcellus Preston remembered being exposed for two goals by Washington College in an NCAA Tournament quarterfinal. He admitted he was “a little bit pouty” during a timeout.

“Callum came up to me, put his arm around me, and said, ‘If we’re going to win this game and if we’re going to keep going, then we’re going to need you. So you can’t put your head down,’” said the Westminster native and Boys’ Latin graduate, who is the son of Baltimore Sun columnist Mike Preston. “Callum had a great sense of knowing when to come in and say what he had to say, and people listened to what he had to say.”

If there was one trait of Robinson’s that was universally beloved, it was his fondness for others.

“Cal was the most vibrant personality, a gravitational pull,” Green said. “He filled everyone’s lives with so much joy when you were with him. Being around him was like a drug. You just felt good.”

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Rubenstein said Robinson knew every teammate. “He was the guy who was bigger than everybody on the team, but never put himself in front of anybody,” he said.

Time apart didn’t dull Robinson’s appreciation for friends, according to Preston, who was wrapped up by Robinson at a bar in Baltimore last year.

“There were definitely seconds when my feet were not on the ground,” Preston said.

Robinson was called “M-u-l-l-a-c” by several teammates, “Tarzan” by opponents for his long hair and ripped biceps, and “The Big Koala” by ESPN analyst Quint Kessenich during the 2014 Federation of International Lacrosse World Championship in Denver.

“I spent a morning with him and Team Australia in Vail at practice,” Kessenich wrote via text. “I will miss Callum. I’m saddened. He stood out. There was nothing cookie-cutter about him. His nickname stuck.”

Cantabene, who keeps a boomerang given to him by Robinson in his office, said more than 50 former players gathered during Stevenson’s 21-3 rout of Eastern in a MAC Commonwealth Tournament final Saturday night to honor Robinson’s memory.

“They were all hurting, but they were together,” he said. “I’ve never hugged so many people in my life. As I told the guys in the text message chain to them, Callum wanted us to cry together, he wanted us to laugh loud together, and he wanted us to hug each other for a long time. I think that’s what we did all night.”

Holechek said he last saw Robinson last fall when the team reunited for Stevenson’s Hall of Fame induction. “I wish I got more time with him,” Holechek said. “But I’m cherishing the time I did get.”