(Inc.) — How to lead others to excel is a question that preoccupies Craig Robinson. He has been an investment banker and entrepreneur, and re-invented himself as a college basketball coach at the age of 38. With close personal proximity to Barack Obama, Robinson also assesses—from close up—what’s at the core of the president’s leadership style. From modest circumstances growing up in Chicago, Robinson vaulted to stardom as a basketball player at Princeton University. His business career was humming along—MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business; vice president at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter; and co-founder of a start-up investment firm, Loop Capital Markets—when he had a change of heart. In 2000, he became an assistant basketball coach atNorthwestern University. Six years later, he progressed to head coach at Brown University. He has been in his current post, at Oregon State University, since 2008. Robinson has earned accolades for lifting two teams out of the doldrums, and records he achieved at Brown in two years (30-28) and Oregon State in three (42-55).