In 1941 Louisiana Negro Normal Industrial Institute (later changed to Grambling State University in 1974) hired a man who had been working at a Baton Rouge feed mill a year prior to his arrival; however they had no idea that this man would single handidly change the landscape of college football. Eddie Robinson , or simply known as Coach Rob turned the Grambling State football program into what has been referred to as the Notre Dame of black college football.Robinson was born February 13, 1919 in Jackson, Louisiana, after graduating from Baton Rouge’s McKinley high in 1937, he went to pursue higher education at Leland College. While at Leland College, he was a star quarterback under head coach Reuben Turner. After completing his degree, he returned back to Baton Rouge working at a feed mill, until he got his big break.
After learning about a vacant head football coach position at Grambling, Robinson applied and was hired by school president Ralph Waldo Emerson Jones and the rest is history. His first season at the helm in 1941 was very rough going 3-5; however a year later he bounced back leading his team to a 9-0 mark but the most astonishing thing was that their defense did not give up a single point. Coach went on to win many more games after that 1942 season. But no victory was sweeter than the one that came on October 7, 1995, when he became the first college football coach ever to reach a 400 win status, with a 42-6 victory over Mississippi Valley State.
In 1997 after a long and successful career Robinson retired with impossible shoes to fill. In 57 seasons (only 8 losing seasons) he compiled a 408-165-15(which ranks him 2nd all time in the NCAA) 17 SWAC titles and 8 black college national championships. Coach is a member of the following Hall of fames: College Football, SWAC, National Association for Sports and Physical Education, Louisiana Sports, Pop Warner and The Sugar bowl. Coach Rob also sent over 200 players to the NFL and AFL.
Growing up Eddie Robinson’s parents always made sure he got a good education and he did, Robinson holds a Bachelor’s degree form Leland College and a Master’s degree from Iowa Univeristy. In Robinson’s tenure of the 4,000 players he coached, 80 percent of them left with a college degree.
Robinson will be remembered for taking a small northern Louisiana town and putting it on a national map. However, Coach Rob was not only a good coach but a good husband to his wife Doris, a good father, teacher, motivator and role model. Coach always used to say that he only had “one wife and one job.