GRAMBLING, LA (Nexstar) — Grambling State University is a small college in north Louisiana. Despite the size, it’s home to legendary figures in the sporting world.
None bigger than Eddie Robinson.
It’s been almost ten years since Coach Eddie Robinson passed away, nearly 20 since he last coached a game. But as the year’s pass, his legend grows. It’s because of how he lived.
“There’s no question. It is alive and well” said former Grambling State University football player Lee Fobbs.
Jim Crow laws influenced whom Robinson recruited and what teams his squad could play. During a time of institutionalized discrimination Robinson excelled.
“It’s pretty amazing that someone could start with so little and make so much” said GSU President Rick Gallot.
Robinson was hired in 1941 by Ralph W.E. Jones, to coach players just a few years younger than he was.
“His charge to Coach Robinson was to make Grambling the black Notre Dame of college football” said Gallot.
But Robinson’s role quickly changed from coach to father.
“He was a father for these kids. He dealt with single parents. Boys that didnt have fathers at home” said friend and former Grambling State University baseball coach Wilbert Ellis.
Robinson’s role as coach was well defined. He wanted his players to be better on the field, but to also be better in life.
“You can be anything you want to be. But most of all you can be a good individual” said Ellis.
Over 200 hundred of Robinson’s football players played professionally. But hundreds more became professionals in a different field, principals, lawyers, executives.
“Eddie Robinson was a man that believed in people. No matter what race, color or creed. And the words that he spoke meant so much to all of us. Eddy Robinson. Eddy Robinson” said Ellis.
Robinson’s coaching career ended with 408 wins and a spot in the College Football Hall of Fame.
To this day Eddie Robinson is one of only two college football coaches to have his own museum on the campus of the school he coached.
The other, Bear Bryant at Alabama.