eddie robinson

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Edward Gay Robinson (February 13, 1919–April 3, 2007) was an American college football coach at Grambling State University. Robinson holds the record for the most victories (408) of any head coach in Division I-AA (now known as the Football Championship Subdivision) college football.

Robinson spent fifty-six years as the head coach at historically black Grambling State University in Grambling in Lincoln Parish in northern Louisiana, from 1941 through 1997.

During his tenure, Robinson established himself as the winningest coach in Division I-AA college football history, with 408 wins. Robinson is second overall in college football victories at any level, behind the 461 wins owned by John Gagliardi of Division III St. John's University (Minnesota). Robinson retired in 1997 with an overall record of 408 wins, 165 losses and 15 ties. More than 200 of his players went on to play in the American Football League and in the NFL. Robinson coached three American Football League players who would later be inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame: the Kansas City Chiefs' Buck Buchanan; the Oakland Raiders' Willie Brown; and the Houston Oilers' Charlie Joiner. Robinson also coached James Harris, who with the AFL's Buffalo Bills became the first black quarterback in modern Pro Football history to start at that position in a season opener. He also coached Packers defensive end and Hall of Famer Willie Davis and the Super Bowl XXII MVP, Redskins quarterback Doug Williams, who would ultimately succeed Robinson as Grambling's head coach in 1998.

During his coaching career, Robinson compiled 45 winning seasons, including winning or sharing 17 Southwestern Athletic Conference championships and nine black college football national championships

While at Grambling, Eddie Robinson held several jobs other than football coach, including teaching at Grambling High School, and coaching the girls' basketball team during World War II. His girls team lost the state championship by 1 point. He also coached boys' basketball, baseball, directed band and was in charge of the cheerleaders, with a budget of $46.

After several losing seasons in the 1990s, pressure mounted for Robinson to resign. In 1997, news escaped that Grambling was planning to dismiss him. Public outcry — including condemnation from Louisiana elected officials — led Grambling to retain Robinson's services through the remainder of the season.

After his retirement, Robinson was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease; he died on April 3, 2007, at Lincoln General Hospital in Ruston, Louisiana, after being admitted earlier in the day.

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