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Returning home: Roberts found his place at USU

staff writer

Published: Thursday, December 5, 2013

Updated: Thursday, December 5, 2013 00:12

Marvin Roberts

Photo courtesy Doug Fiefia

Marvin Roberts, right, poses with former Jazz player Thurl Bailey and USU/SA President Doug FieFia

Nestled away in a corner office on the third floor of the Taggart Student Center, Marvin Roberts may give the appearance of being just another university employee.

But his 6-foot-8-inch frame makes him stand out, as does his pleasant demeanor.

Roberts always tries to make his fellow employees feel better about themselves everyday.

“I’m sorry Miss, I don’t think I have told you to have a wonderful day today,” Roberts said to a colleague on the same floor.

His polite attitude doesn’t stop there though. Students walk past him and before they can pass, Roberts stops them.

“Excuse me sir, can you do me a favor? I want you to have the best day you can possibly have today,” Roberts said.

Some may ask, ‘Who exactly is this man?’ A man who dearly loves his wife and family, but also has a competitive side. Marv — as he likes to be called — was a three-time All-American for Utah State’s basketball team back in his day.

As a senior in high school, Roberts contemplated over many colleges, but his teammates were shocked when he announced he would attend USU. Roberts didn’t grow up anywhere near Cache Valley; in fact, he lived nearly 1,971 miles away in New York City.

His decision to move from the skyscrapers of New York City to the Wasatch Mountains of Utah was a smart decision on his part. Marvin averaged 23.6 points per game and 12.8 rebounds per game — those numbers still rank third and first in school history.

Roberts’ junior year was one of his fondest memories at USU, when he led the Aggies to the Western Regional Final — today known as the Elite Eight — where the Aggies fell to the one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time in John Wooden and his UCLA Bruins.

“I really enjoyed that year, but our best team and my best year was during my senior year,” Roberts said.

Excitement buzzed around Logan during the fall of 1971, not only for Roberts’ senior season, but because a particular stadium was built that season.

“Before my senior year we played our games in the Fieldhouse, but we were really excited to play in Spectrum my senior year,” Roberts said. “Our fans weren’t as rowdy as they are now, but we played some exciting basketball in that stadium.”

In its inaugural season, the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum was the home to Western Regionals and the Aggies were looking to make USU history and bring home a national championship to Cache Valley.

Things seemed to fall into place with the Aggies being the host of the regionals, and they wouldn’t have to play powerhouse UCLA until the regional championship game. With the game in Logan that year, they hoped the game would end favorably.

But the Aggies weren’t able to make it to the regional final. They didn’t make out of the first round of the playoffs.

Roberts had an amazing career as an Aggie. There is a large poster of him in the Spectrum and his jersey hangs in the rafters as well.

After his senior season, he went on to have a successful professional career playing for notable NBA franchises like the Los Angeles Lakers and the Detroit Pistons. He eventually made his way to the American Basketball Association.

Roberts had a career in the corporate world of human resources following pro basketball, and he even had opportunities to act in the film industry. Roberts wanted a change of scenery a few years ago and felt like his job was feeling more like work and he wasn’t having any fun.

That’s when USU President Stan Albrecht called Roberts about a job opportunity that they opened up just for him. Roberts, now the assistant vice president for Student Engagement and Diversity, jumped at the opportunity to help students at the school where it all began for him.

“They say when you do something you love, you never work a day in your life,” Roberts said. “I started on July 1, and haven’t worked a day since.”

Twitter: @BradyClark19 

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