An hour before Grambling State University’s Homecoming game, hundreds of alumni, students and sports legends gathered around Gate 2 of Robinson Stadium, built 30 years ago in honor of the late coach, as it was renamed the Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium.
According to President Frank G. Pogue, when it was built Robinson was alive and the university couldn’t honor him by putting his full name on the historic gridiron stadium where he won most of his football games, including No. 408.
“He was not deceased, and there is a state policy about that,” said Pogue. “He has certainly has been deceased long enough, that it had to be changed.”
The idea of renaming the stadium has been in conversation for years, even before Pogue’s tenure, the president said, and the idea was brought to Pogue’s attention just days after he was named president of the institution.
“Three days after I came here I started hearing about it,” said Pogue shortly after the short
stadium program, “and it has been approved by the (University of Louisiana) System for quite some time.”
Athletic Director Aaron James was pleased with the turnout and the program, especially some members of Coach Rob’s 1983 football team, the first to play in the now-famous stadium. “I thought it was fitting because when you talk about Eddie G. Robinson, that is who started football at GSU,” said James. “It was very fitting for the stadium to be named after coach.”
A senior marketing major and former baseball pitcher at Grambling State, Sean Moore, 21, stood next to his cousin, Cherie Kirkland, one of Robinson’s granddaughters. She remembered the good old days when Robinson and his wife, Doris, graced the campus and Saturday football games at the stadium. “Nobody could work a press box the way Doris could,” said Kirkland.
Before leaving the podium just outside the stadium, Kirkland reminded the Tiger fans about some history.
“It was against Mississippi State Valley that Eddie won his 400th game in this stadium,” she said. “It was against Mississippi Valley that Eddie won his last game and 408th win in this stadium.”
With that background and history, she said the G-Men were assured a victory today.
She was correct. Grambling State won the game 47-40 to break an 18-game losing streak against NCAA opponents.