On a cloudy overcast day, 13 people were sworn in as members of the Eddie Robinson Museum board, the body responsible for making the dream turn into a reality. Many people have been eagerly anticipating the event, but no one is more excited than Eddie Robinson’s friends.
“This day is real exciting, and I have waited for it for years,” said Wilbert Ellis, former baseball coach and longtime friend of the legendary Grambling State football coach.
Louisiana Secretary of State Jay Darden, who did the swearing in, said the museum is entering phase two, which means the roof is starting to take shape.
According to Darden, the museum is right on schedule. However, Darden said he and his group of private investors are trying to raise $500,000 in private funds.
Some of the $500,000 will go toward a media and education room in the museum.
During the ceremony the Lincy Foundation, in the name of Willie Davis, NFL Hall-of-Famer and Grambling alumus, donated $100,000 to the Eddie Robinson Museum fund.
Davis said no other person is more deserving of such an honor than “Coach Rob.”
“He was like a father figure to me, and taught me so much,” Davis said.
Darden said the museum will be opened either in fall 2009 or early 2010. The group is hoping to open the museum during football season.
The committee hopes the museum will attract people across the United States.
Many people were on hand to witness the swearing-in. One of the spectators was Santoria Black, assistant athletic director and 1991 graduate of Grambling.
For Black, this day was a culmination of hard work and an indication of positive things to come.
“This says a lot about the commitment to the state, project and to the museum,” Black said. “Once the doors are open it will be great day.”
Black also said it is important to tell people about Eddie Robinson, not just as a football coach but as the good, hard-working person that he was.
J. Lin Dawson, athletic director at Grambling State, was also honored to be a part of the events.
“This has been a long time coming,” said Dawson. “I have been in athletics my whole life, and I have never seen someone make such an impact.”
Anyone interested in donating to the Eddie Robinson Museum should contact the GSU Athletic Department. Dawson can be reached at (318) 274-2374.