A somber crowd filled T.H. Harris Auditorium on Saturday morning, but by the end of the service the crowd’s spirits had taken a turn for the better. All were present for the funeral of Eddie G. Robinson Jr.
The auditorium was filled with Grambling State University alumni, former and current student-athletes, faculty, friends and family of Robinson, who died Nov. 6.
The building was decorated with flowers lined with traces of black and gold scattered throughout the crowd. In front of the crowd lay an ebony-colored coffin.
Influential Gramblinites such as university President Frank G. Pogue, Dean of Student Activities David C. Ponton Jr., and Athletic Director Aaron James, along with former head football coach Doug Williams, were all present in the life celebration of a man whose name is synonymous with Grambling State University.
Perhaps the most touching moment was when former player Clement Gordon spoke on his relationship with Robinson, describing it as “not coach/player, but big brother/little brother.”
Robinson was a standout Grambling State quarterback from the ’60s. Like his legendary football coach father, Robinson Jr. shared a love for coaching football. At GSU he coached running backs, wide receivers and quarterbacks.
He received his bachelor’s degree from then Grambling College in 1966 and a master’s from Southern University in 1972. In addition to Grambling football, he coached at Webster High in Minden, Carroll High in Monroe and Grambling High. There was even a group of former students and co-worker from Minden High who were acknowledged during the service.
He is survived by his mother Doris Robinson, one son, two daughters, a host of nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.
The crowd’s spirits lifted as the speakers reflected on the fond memories of Robinson. The audience learned more about “Coach Jr.”, his compassionate spirit as well as his talkative nature.
“If you ever needed a friend, Eddie was there,” said Coach “Buck” Godfrey.
One thing that stood out to his friends, family and former fellow coaches was Robinson’s warm heart. Following the funeral, many reminiscence about his legacy and called him a great man.
“When you say Eddie Robinson Jr., that’s probably like the masterpiece or (as) close to the masterpiece from the master,” said Tony Valentino, the football team photographer. “He was truly a courageous, outgoing … just terrific coach. We’re going to miss him.”
Doug Williams spoke highly of Robinson Jr., calling him “the epitome of a big brother.”
“Coach Jr. was a very personable man,’ Ponton said. “Coming from a famous family like he is, you would never know. He was the kind of person you could walk up to on the street, say ‘hey’ to, and he would hold a conversation with you for hours.”
From neighbors, friends, old roommates, players and more, Robinson J. will surely be missed by the Grambling community. Following the service, he was buried in Grambling Memorial Garden next to his father.
In the words of Doug Williams, Grambling has lost “another big Tiger in the sky.”