Eddie RobinsonThe Legend ... Eddie G. Robinson

For legendary Grambling State University football coach Eddie G. Robinson, football has always been the driving force motivating one of the most successful men to have ever set foot on a football field.

 

Coach Robinson spent 57 seasons consistently fielding stellar football teams and guiding his young charges to successful lives both on and off the gridiron. His earned an unprecedented 408 college football victories to set the NCAA’s benchmark for wins in Division I. Coach Robinson retired with an overall record of 408 wins, 165 losses, and 15 ties.

 

More than 200 of his players went on to play in the National Football League, including Super Bowl XXII MVP quarterback Doug Williams, who would ultimately succeed Robinson as Grambling's head coach in 1998.

 

Though ultra-successful, Coach Robinson has always remained humble, crediting his players, his family, his loving wife Doris, the media, and football fans from all over the world for making the name Eddie Robinson synonymous with the best that college football has to offer.

 

On October 7, 1995, Robinson became the first college football coach to break the 400-win barrier, a mark once thought to be unreachable. The 42-6 triumph over Mississippi Valley State came before a national television audience on ESPN2.

 

“Nobody has ever done or will ever do what Eddie Robinson has done for this game,” legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno said. “Our profession will never, ever be able to repay Eddie Robinson for what he has done for this country and the profession of football.”

 

Time after time Coach Robinson proved that hard work, dedication, and determination could lead to unimaginable accomplishments. Neither of Coach Robinson’s parents graduated from high school, but they encouraged their son’s desire to stay in school and earn a college degree. A young Robinson moved on from high school to become a star quarterback at Leland College under Reuben Turner, a Baptist preacher who introduced Robinson to the concepts of a playbook and coaching clinics.

 

With no coaching opportunities available following college, Robinson took a job in a Baton Rouge feed mill before learning from a relative that there was an opening for a football coach at Louisiana Negro Normal and Industrial Institute, later to become Grambling State University. After an interview with school president Dr. Ralph Waldo Emerson Jones, Robinson was chosen as the sixth head football coach of the Tigers.

 

It didn’t take Coach Rob, as he is affectionately known, long to prove his worth. Following his initial season, Coach Robinson took command and dismissed some players who he felt were not living up to expectations. The results came soon thereafter, as the next season Coach Robinson’s team posted a perfect 9-0 season with the team going undefeated, untied, and unscored upon. Grambling was only the second collegiate team to have shut out every opponent, a feat which has not been repeated since.

 

By 1949, Grambling’s football program was receiving national acclaim after former Tigers running back Paul “Tank” Younger signed with the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League, thus becoming the first player from a historically black college to be taken in the NFL.

 

In 1955, Grambling claimed the national Black College Championship by going 10-0 (the best record in school history) and outscoring opponents by a 356-61 margin. After picking up his 100th career coaching victory against Bethune-Cookman in 1957, Coach Robinson and his Tigers joined the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) in 1959. The following season he led the Tigers to the first of 17 SWAC titles under his guidance.

 

Another of Robinson’s former Tigers made NFL waves in 1963 as the late Junius “Buck” Buchanan became the first player from a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) to have been chosen first overall in the NFL Draft.

 

By 1984, Coach Robinson was poised to become college football’s winningest coach. After surpassing Amos Alonzo Stagg’s 314 coaching victories that year, he tied legendary Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s 323-win mark with a 23-6 win over Oregon State before becoming the career wins leader the next week with a 27-7 win over Prairie View A&M.

 

Coach Robinson finally relinquished his reigns to the Tigers following the 1997 season, but his contribution to the game will be remembered forever. Also during the same year, he was officially inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

 

The Football Writers of America's Coach of the Year award is named after Coach Robinson. Grambling also named its football stadium the Eddie Robinson Stadium.

 

Robinson graduated from McKinley Senior High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1937. He went on to earn his Bachelor's Degree from Leland College in Baker, Louisiana, then went on to obtain his Masters Degree from the University of Iowa in 1954.

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The Eddie G. Robinson Museum is a landmark that officially recognizes the outstanding contributions to the state of Louisiana, the nation, the world and the game of football made by Coach Eddie G. Robinson.  - more