Robinson museum moves forward

BATON ROUGE, La. — Efforts to construct a museum to honor former Grambling State University football coach Eddie Robinson received a $300,000 in assistance, with approval from a state money panel.
The museum had $100,000 for planning efforts, and the State Bond Commission
agreed to shuffle another $300,000 in state construction money to help cover the costs of hiring an architect and designing the museum.
The Bond Commission also agreed to spend another $1 million to construct the museum in later years. The spending was approved quickly and without objection.
The Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System granted Grambling State University the authority to enter into a new lease agreement with Louisiana’s Office of the Secretary of State to establish the Eddie G. Robinson Museum at its May meeting on the University of Louisiana at Lafayette campus.
“It is important to have a place for future generations to remember and honor this great man,” said UL System President Sally Clausen. “There is no better location than on the campus of Grambling State University.”
Under the proposed lease agreement, the Secretary of State’s Office will pay Grambling one dollar per year for 99 years to use its Women’s Gymnasium to establish the museum.
“We were on track to finalize an agreement between our office and Grambling State University,” said Secretary of State Jay Dardenne. “[Now] we’re at a wonderful point in time in the life of the museum – to give birth to it so shortly after Coach Rob’s death.”
Robinson, who died in April, led the football program at Grambling for 57 years, retiring in 1997 as the winningest coach in college history with 408 wins. He won 17 conference titles and sent more than 200 players to the NFL (including four to the Hall of Fame), and was dubbed the “winningest” coach in the history of college football.
A museum for Robinson has been in the works for years but was slowed by funding problems and disagreements over the museum’s location.
On top of the state dollars, an additional $2 million is estimated to be needed to complete the museum.
Grambling State University, as well as the State of Louisiana, will share responsibilities of the museum.
Responsibilities of the Secretary of State’s office will include:
* Maintaining liability and casualty insurance,
* Providing an interior security system for the building, and
* Providing operating costs including personnel, repairs, improvements, and renovations.
In return, Grambling will provide outside security, grounds maintenance, and telephone and internet connections to the building.
“Coach Robinson is and always will be a ‘Son of Grambling,’ and the museum constructed in his honor will continue his legacy to inspire and educate young people,” said Grambling President Horace Judson. “This museum will bring many persons from all over the world to our campus to experience the life and career of a great coach and educator.”
“I can think of no greater way to immortalize Coach Eddie Robinson than to ensure his legacy of hope, determination, and extraordinary leadership will be instilled in the hearts and minds of generations to come,” said Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco. “This measure will go before the Bond Commission next month with my full support.”
For more information and the pdf version of the lease agreement, visit www.ulsystem.net.