Grambling State University has produced many sports legends. However, until recently, many of them received very little recognition.
Thanks to the Grambling Legends, many GSU athletes (both living and deceased) are receiving their rewards as they are inducted in the organization’s hall of fame.
Recently, 38 former football players were honored with banners that are displayed in front of the athletic complex on what is now being called Legends Row.
The first banner displayed is that of the legendary Eddie G. Robinson, who served as head football coach for 57 seasons (1941 – 97).
Robinson’s 408 victories is the record for most college football coaching victories. He also helped over 200 of his players reach the NFL.
The last banner belongs to Jake Reed, a standout wide receiver at GSU from 1987-90. He was drafted in 1991 and went on to play 12 seasons in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints.
Others who received banners are Paul Younger , 1945-49; Boots Moore, 1945-49; Albert Dennis, 1946-49; Mackie Freeze 1946-49; Adolph Byrd, 1946-49; Willie Joseph, 1946-49; Willie Davis, 1952-56; Melvin Lee, 1952-55; Eddie “Bo” Murry, 957-59; Preston Power, 1957-0; Roosevelt Taylor, 1957-60; Jerry Robinson, 1958-61; Earnie Ladd, 1958-61; Lane Howell, 1958-61; Garland Boyette, 1958-61; Junius “Buck” Buchanan, 1959-62; Stone Johnson, 1959-1962; Willie Brown, 1959-1962; Eugene Harvey, 1961-1998; Alphonse Dotson, 1961-64; Henry Dyer, 1962-65; Willie Young, 1962-65; Essex Johnson, 1964-67; James Harris, 1965-68; Charlie Joiner, 1965-68; Frank Lewis, 1966-69; Delles Howell, 1966-69; Doug Porter, 1966-73; Gary Johnson, 1971-74; Sammie White, 1972-75; James Hunter, 1972-75; Robert Woods, 1974-77; Douglas Williams, 1974-77; Everson Walls, 1977-81; Albert Lewis, 1979-82; and Trumaine Johnson, 79-82.
The banners include the names of players, coaches and one trainer and the years they were employed or played at GSU.
GSU head football coach, Williams was one of the pioneers of the Legends.
He said the banners are a good way to not only recognize but preserve the history of Grambling athletes. “When you talk about the history of Grambling, athletics was very influential,” said Williams.
“Many of our young people do not know about the legacy, the rich history at Grambling. They don’t understand getting off at Exit 81 and seeing a sign for the Eddie Robinson Museum,” Williams said. “Maybe they will see a name on the banner and Google it.”
Although many helped the banner project become a reality, Williams said a GSU alumna spearheaded the effort.
“Shelia Carr made it happen. She made sure that we could secure those banners,” he said.
Others who helped to organize the GSU Legends include Henry Dyer, Charlie Joiner, Frank Lewis, Delles Howell, Larry Wright Sr., Willis Reed and James Harris.
Williams said the group was born out of the fact that so many of the athletes’ accomplishments at Grambling had not gotten recognition. One of the objectives of the Legends is to recognize outstanding achievers in all sports, not just football.
“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 Pro Football Hall of Famer Willie Davis, an inaugural Grambling Legends inductee. “There’s nothing in life more gratifying than being recognized and honored for those things they did on the field.”