Robins, 42, enjoyed a two-year spell in charge of Rotherham between 2007-2009 before taking the reins at Barnsley, whom he quit in May 2011 afterdifferences with the Oakwell board forced him to resign.
The former Manchester United, Norwich and Leicester striker is certain to have his work cut out with Coventry who, aside from their ongoing financial concerns off the pitch, are struggling to adapt to life in League One following relegation last season.
The Sky Blues, competing in the third tier of English football for the first time since 1964, are still awaiting their first league win of the campaign and went down to a fourth successive defeat on Tuesday night, losing 4-1 at Shrewsbury.
"This is a great opportunity. Coventry is a club with great tradition and, although we find ourselves in League One, the squad that has been assembled is better than the results so far have shown," said Robins.
"I am relishing the opportunity to turn things around and bring better times for the Sky Blues supporters.'"
Richard Shaw, aided by Lee Carsley, had been holding the fort in a caretaker capacity for the past three-and-a-half weeks since Andy Thorn was given his marching orders. The pair return to their roles as assistant manager and first-team coach respectively.