Catching Up With…Robin Andrews

July 9, 2013

Robin Andrews has always been a trailblazer. Prior to a 23-year career in the FBI and a five-year career working with underwater explosives in the Navy, Andrews began a stellar golf career at Carroll County High School. Without the benefit of a girls’ team, Andrews became the number one seed on a talented Cavalier golf team before earning a full golf scholarship at Longwood College. In 1979, she won the state tournament for female collegiate golfers and she was a two-time All-American at Longwood. She also placed fourth in the national women’s Division II golf tournament in 1981, and finished as the runner-up in the state amateur tournament in 1982 before being a three-time member of the All-Navy golf team.

Now retired in Arizona, Andrews spent some time this week to talk about the FBI, Navy, Longwood and high school antics while working at Gay Hills Country Club.

What year did you graduate from Carroll County? I graduated from CCHS in 1979.

Where did you attend college? From 1979 to 1983 I attended Longwood College in Farmville, VA, on a full golf scholarship.

Family members? My parents are Kelly and Linda Andrews, sister is Gleda Edwards and husband Terry Edwards, they have two daughters, Ashley and Sarah Edwards, my brother is Mark Andrews and is married to Sherry Andrews, they have two sons, Grant and Tyler Andrews. I am single.

Current Occupation: I am retired and enjoy golfing, hiking, biking, swimming and volunteering at the Habitat for Humanity and the Food Bank.

Which was the cooler job, a 23-year career in the FBI or underwater demolition in the Navy? I was an EOD Navy diver from 1983 to 1988 and joined the FBI in 1988 to 2011. Both were very interesting jobs and each day was something different and challenging. I look back and I have a great sense of accomplishment. I would say the FBI was the cooler job as I was able to assist/help a lot of people, but in turn I did see countless pain and suffering. Most of my career I investigated violent crime acts to include homicides, child sexual abuse, and child sexual exploitation over the Internet (child pornography). When you think you have seen the worst in humans something even more evil appears.

Those job titles make you sound like a female John Wayne. Did your business card say something like “Robin Andrews, kicking butt and taking names?” That would have been fun, but it was boring pretty black and white stuff.

Be honest, how upset were the guys at Carroll County High School that the number one seed on the boys’ golf team was a girl? Well….it took me a long time to get there and they were a great group of guys to put up with the only female. We had a wonderful time, but I did find green tees in the fairway that someone was using :)

How special was it to be a two-time All-American at Longwood and to be named Female Athlete of the Year your senior year? I still can’t believe I received those honors and very proud to this day.

What is your favorite memory in athletics? I loved playing in the Virginia State Golf Amateur in Hot Springs, VA. That’s where I had my only hole in one during the practice round with my dad.

Do you think the FBI would have denied you admission if they found out you used to sneak alcohol from the beer cart at Gay Hills Country Club (now Blue Ridge Country Club) when you worked there in high school? Oopps….don’t tell anyone they were only the baby millers and I gave the big buds out to my friends.

How mad did your sister Gleda get when the golf pro Al Rose would let you hit golf balls when you were working and make Gleda shag for you? Wow, Al Rose was very good to me and he was a wonderful golf instructor. Mad does not even begin to describe my sister shagging balls for me. But, it was good for her I’m sure…just kidding.

What’s the longest you’ve ever driven a golf ball, and how far do you typically drive the ball? The longest was 260 yards and now I average 220. Old age creeping in and not as limber.

Do you ever regret going in the Navy instead of turning pro as a golfer? I have thought of that a lot and especially when I was in the Navy wondering what I had done when I had it made playing golf. But, truth is it really paid off with the Navy. I was able to obtain my masters in the Navy and able to buy my five years back in the Navy to count toward my federal retirement. At the time when I was in the Navy swabbing decks and living on a ship it was the longest five years. To be honest it was a tough time and I missed golf and my friends.

Is it true your Admiral in the Navy used to set you up on his team as a ringer? Well, I did play All Navy golf and even able to play golf in Hawaii for a week.

Which was more terrifying, being stuck in mud at the bottom of a lake floor or getting stung on the lips by a swarm of jellyfish? They were both terrifying. I was in Holy Loch, Scotland, on a training dive with my male partner. He was pretty lean and let’s just say I was more buoyant. We were tied together with a buddy line and he had lots of weight on his weight belt which caused us to sink quickly to the bottom and sink in mud and silt. Needless to say we were both anxious. I looked in his facemask and his eyes were as big as softballs. I was able to inflate my buoyancy control (BC) device manually and we slowly made it back to the surface. In the Navy you can never leave your buddy behind. We did have a talk about using too much weight on his belt.

The other incident occurred off of Maryland while we were training with sonar trying to locate torpedos. We knew the jellyfish were strong in the area and even wore coveralls to dive in to protect our arms and legs. The only exposed parts were our lips to hold the breathing regulator. It felt like a thousand bee stings on your lips. That night we used meat tenderizer on our lips to ease the pain. To this day I stay away from jelly fish.

You won the state tournament for female collegiate golfers in 1979, finished fourth in the national women’s Division II golf tournament in 1981,and finished as the runnerup in the state amateur tournament in 1982. Do any of these particular tournaments stand out as your favorite? Wow, that was a while ago. I was very fortunate to attend Longwood College and to this day I keep in touch with my golf coach Dr. Barbara Smith. We had a great group of girls and so many wonderful golf tournaments. The reason I knew about Longwood College was because of my two friends, Becky Webb and Lynn Cook who were a couple of years a head of me who attended Longwood. Becky and Lynn were from Galax and we met at Gay Hills CC. I heard such wonderful stories about Longwood from them. My all-time favorite was always the Virginia State Amateur with all its beautiful grass and trees. Virginia really is a beautiful state!

Former Carroll hoops great Terry Edwards is your brother-in-law. Which would you say is more probable, you beating him one-on-one in basketball or him beating you at golf? Well, Terry tries hard at golf, but it is more probable that I would beat him at one-on-one basketball. But, don’t tell him. I need to practice some Bball.

Now that you are retired, do you ever see yourself moving away from the Arizona heat and back to the mountains of Carroll County? I do miss the beautiful mountains of Carroll County and anything is possible. I’m still getting use to the idea that I can move. The FBI sent me to Arizona, but now I have to freedom to move, how fun!