Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The paradigm pioneer of black coaches, RIP

Legendary is an adjective used far too often. It should be reserved for those who have created a legacy and performed great feats. To that end, there is no doubt that Eddie Robinson is legendary.

The architect of Grambling State University's football program, and the man who made it the "black Notre Dame" died yesterday. He was 88.

This is what life was like for Robinson when he started coaching Grambling at age 22:

When he arrived, Grambling had no such luxuries as a locker room or weight room, and Robinson had to mow and line the field himself before games. He filled coffee cans with cement so his athletes could lift weights, sewed torn uniforms, taped ankles, drilled the cheerleading squad, and wrote up game accounts for the papers that didn’t cover Grambling’s games. He also coached the men and women’s basketball teams, and ran Grambling’s physical education department.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune has an excellent obit, which I've linked above. I think this statement about Robinson by Joe Paterno should be an epitaph:

No one in the history of football has done more for the college game than Eddie Robinson. Football will never be able to repay him for what he’s accomplished and done.

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