Football will be the primary focus when Grambling State University honors its latest group of athletic legends later this month.?? A total of 15 individuals who have made a major impact on the school’s sports history will be inducted into the GSU Legends Hall of Fame at the Monroe Civic Center on July 17.
Ceremonies will begin at 6 p.m., with a pre-banquet reception set for the Eddie G. Robinson Museum on July 16 at the same time. ??Of those inductees, over half have direct links to the glorious gridiron legacy that has marked the university’s athletic program for so many years.??The “football family” of honorees will include Doug Williams, Sammy White, Jerry Robinson, Roosevelt Taylor, Garland Boyette, Eugene “Doc” Harvey, Mackie Freeze, Melvin Lee and Adolph Byrd.??They will be joined by Patricia Bibbs (women’s basketball coach), Mary Currie (women’s basketball player), Robert Williams (baseball), Joseph B. Johnson (university president), James Hooper (men’s basketball) and Jerry Barr (men’s basketball).??
It will mark the second induction ceremonies held by the Legends’ orgnization, formed three years ago by ex-GSU and NFL quarterback James “Shack” Harris and other former GSU athletes who wanted to make sure that many of the school’s distinguished athletes were recognized for their contributions.??Last year’s inaugural event attracted approximately 500 fans and included 25 inductees, among them being Pro Football Hall of Famers Willie Brown and Willie Davis and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Willis Reed.??
“There is such an outstanding legacy at Grambling,” Brown, often regarded as the NFL’s all-time best cornerback and currently an assistant coach for the Oakland Raiders.
“We have so many great athletes to come out of Grambling, and this is a way for those athletes to be recognized because of the things they have done.”??Williams, a two-time All-American quarterback during his Tigers’ career, became the first player of his race to start at that position and then go on to win Most Valuable Player honors while guiding the Washington Redskins past the Denver Broncos in the 1988 Super Bowl.
??The Zachary native who starred at Chaneyville High was recently announced as the general manager of the new Norfolk franchise that will compete in the United Football League starting in 2011.??
White was an All-American wingback for GSU during the Williams era and later received Rookie of the Year honors and set various receiving records while with the Minnesota Vikings.??
Robinson was a two-time rushing leader for the Tigers and compiled an average yards per carry of 5.6 during an All-Southwestern Athletic Conference career Taylor was a three-time all-league defensive back for the G-Men before moving on to an All-Pro career in the NFL.??
Boyette was an All-SWAC linebacker at Grambling prior to earning all-star accolades in the NFL ranks.??Freeze, Lee and Byrd were among early standouts and Harvey served as a longtime and highly respected trainer during the Eddie Robinson era.
Freeze was a two-sport star and later was a highly successful football coach at Monroe Carroll High School, where he mentored future GSU and NFL quarterback James “Shack” Harris.??
Johnson is a former president at GSU and was a loyal supporter of the athletics program, Bibbs was a perennial Southwestern Athletic Conference Coach of the Year recipient while guiding the women’s basketball team and Currie was among the Lady Tigers’ all-time leading performers.??
Hooper earned accolades on the basketball during the 1950s and Robert Williams was a star pitcher for the Tigers during the era of the late Ralph Waldo Emerson “Prez” Jones. The latter is the older brother of Doug.??
“Receiving this type of honor, it means so much because it’s from the school you love dearly and where you played collegiately,” Doug Williams said about being chosen to the Legends Hall of Fame. ??”For me, and I am sure I can speak for all the other inductees, Grambling will always be home.”??
Tickets for the banquet are $60 each and $500 for a table of eight and all proceeds will go to the non-profit Legends’ group for distribution to the athletics’ department at the university.
Purchases of tickets can be made by calling the Monroe Civic Center at 329-2837.??
“The Legends Hall of Fame provides the recognition and notoriety that should have come to those individuals who made great contributions to the university a long time ago,” said Davis.
“There is nothing in life more gratifying than being honored for those things that one did on the field.