Born in Okinawa, Japan, where he lived until he was 7, @Lions WRs Coach Robert Prince started his football career at @HSUJacks, where he lettered in football & track.— Detroit Lions PR (@LionsPR) December 26, 2020
His 1st coaching position also came at Humboldt State, serving as a G.A. on the team from 1989-90.#OnePride pic.twitter.com/JJjhe8Zwh6
Detroit Lions wide receiver coach Robert Prince became the first former Humboldt State University athlete to serve as a head coach in the NFL on Saturday.
The former Lumberjack football player and assistant coach was thrust into the Lions head coaching role late last week after the team fired head coach Matt Patricia mid-season and scratched interim coach Darrell Bevell due to COVID-19 protocol.
“A seasoned veteran when it comes to working with receivers, Robert Prince joined the Lions in 2014 as the team’s wide receivers coach after coaching at the college level for the previous four seasons,” his Lions bio reads. “Since arriving to Detroit, Prince has helped the Lions produce at least one 1,000-yard receiver in each of his first six seasons in Detroit, including two seasons (2014, 2017) with more than one receiver accomplishing the feat.”
ESPN repots that Prince was an offensive coordinator at Fort Lewis College from 1994 to 1995, in the Japanese X League from 1996 to 1997, at Portland State from 1999 to 2000 and at Boise State from 2012 to 2013. He was also the passing game coordinator at the University of Colorado Boulder in 2010.
Interestingly enough, Prince’s first game as head coach was against the Tamps Bay Buccaneers and former HSU lineman Alex Cappa. While this technically wasn’t the first time that two former HSU athletes faced each other in the NFL, it was definitely the most notable. Cappa is the only Lumberjack from the modern football era to play as a legitimate starter in the NFL. He’s also quickly becoming recognized as one of the better guards in the league, earning more Pro Bowl fan votes than any other guard in the NFC this year.
Cappa came away with the win as the Buccaneers rousted the Lions 47-7 on Saturday. According to ESPN, Prince will not be saddled with the loss, as it will be tacked onto interim coach Darrell Bevell’s record instead.