|Born||February 13, 1919|
|Died||April 3, 2007 (aged 88)|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|Head coaching record|
College Football Data Warehouse
Edward Gay Robinson (February 13, 1919 – April 3, 2007) was an American football coach. He is the second winningest coach in NCAA Division I football. For 57 years from 1941 to 1997, he was the head coach at Grambling State University, a historically black university in Louisiana. Robinson was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997.
Robinson was born in Jackson in East Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, to the son of a sharecropper and a domestic worker. He went on to graduate from McKinley Senior High School in Baton Rouge in 1937. He went on to earn his bachelor's degree from Leland College in Baker in East Baton Rouge Parish, then went on to obtain his Master's degree from the University of Iowa in Iowa City in 1954. Robinson is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.
Robinson spent 56 years as the head coach at historically black Grambling State University in Grambling in Lincoln Parish in northern Louisiana beginning in 1941 when he was hired by college president and head baseball coach, Ralph Waldo Emerson Jones.
Robinson is second in overall college football wins, behind John Gagliardi (Division III St. John's University) (Robinson was formerly also behind Joe Paterno until the NCAA vacated 111 of Paterno's victories). More than 200 of his players went on to play in the American Football League, CFL, and NFL. Robinson coached three American Football League players who would later be inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame: the Kansas City Chiefs' Buck Buchanan; the Oakland Raiders' Willie Brown; and the Houston Oilers' Charlie Joiner. Robinson also coached James Harris, who with the AFL's Buffalo Bills became the first black quarterback in modern Pro Football history to start at that position in a season opener. He also coached Packers defensive end and Hall of Famer Willie Davis and the Super Bowl XXII MVP, Redskins quarterback Doug Williams, who would ultimately succeed Robinson as Grambling's head coach in 1998.
During his coaching career, Robinson compiled 45 winning seasons, including winning or sharing 17 Southwestern Athletic Conference championships and nine black college football national championships.
While at Grambling, Eddie Robinson held several jobs other than football coach, including teaching at Grambling High School, and coaching the girls' basketball team during World War II. His girls team lost the state championship by 1 point. He also coached boys' basketball, baseball, directed band and was in charge of the cheerleaders, with a budget of $46.
Robinson recorded just one losing season between 1960 and 1990; however, after three consecutive losing seasons in the mid-1990s, pressure mounted for the now 78-year old coach to resign. In 1997, news escaped that Grambling was planning to dismiss him in mid-season. Public outcry — including condemnation from Louisiana elected officials — led Grambling to retain Robinson's services through the remainder of the season.
Robinson was the 1992 winner of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award, which was established to honor the NCAA Division 1 football coach whose team excels on the field, in the classroom, and in the community. The award is named for Bobby Dodd, longtime head football coach of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The award was established in 1976 to honor the values that Dodd exemplified.
*Not yet an accredited college
Awards and honors
Robinson received the 1985 Amos Alonzo Stagg Award from the United States Sports Academy in recognition of his outstanding achievement as a coach.
In the 1981 TV movie Grambling's White Tiger set in late 1960s, about the true story of Jim Gregory, the first white Quarterback at Grambling, Robinson is played by Harry Belafonte.
- List of presidents of the American Football Coaches Association
- List of college football coaches with 200 wins
- EDDIE ROBINSON: 1919-2007 - Robinson's Record. The Advocate. April 5, 2007
- "Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation - Past Winners". Bobby Dodd Foundation. http://www.bobbydoddfoundation.com/pastwinners2.html. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
- Ex-grambling coach Robinson dead at 88. Associated Press. April 4, 2007.
- Eddie Robinson at Find a Grave
- Eddie Robinson at the College Football Hall of Fame
- Eddie Robinson at the College Football Data Warehouse
- Works by or about Eddie Robinson in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
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