Hall of Fame - Inductee Detail

Eddie Robinson

Eddie Robinson

Details

  • Position: Coach
  • School: Grambling
  • Years: 1941-1997
  • Inducted: 1997
  • Place of Birth: Jackson, LA
  • Date of Birth: Feb 13, 1919
  • Place of Death: Grambling, LA
  • Date of Death: Apr 03, 2007

Member Biography

Eddie Robinson coached Grambling State University 55 years. He won 408 games, lost 165, and tied 15. The 408 games won set a record for a college football coach. Among other achievements were these: 17 championships in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, 9 Black College National Championships, a streak of 27 consecutive winning seasons 1960-86. He had more than 80 players who joined teams in the National & American Football Leagues. Among the most famous were Willie Davis, Charlie Joiner, Buck Buchanan, Willie Brown, Tank Younger, Doug Williams, and Ernie Ladd. A significant date in his career was Sept. 28, 1985. The Grambling Tigers beat Oregon State 23-6 for his 323d victory, tying Bear Bryant for the all-time coaching record. Then came Oct. 5, 1985. The Tigers beat Praire View 27-7. This was No. 324, putting him on top. Under Robinson, Grambling played games in New Orleans Superdome, drawing 76,000 spectators; Yankee Stadium in New York drawing 64,000: the Meadowlands, the Los Angeles Coliseum, Houston Astrodome, and Chicago's Soldier Field. In 1976 Grambling played Morgan State in Tokyo; this was the first time a regular season college game had been played on foreign soil. Robinson received more awards than any other coach in history. Grambling named its new stadium after him. Both Grambling and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, named streets for him. Sports Illustrated had Eddie Robinson on its cover in 1985. The National Football Foundation gave him its award for Contribution to Amateur Football in 1992 and named him to College Football Hall of Fame in 1997. He is in another dozen halls of fame. Sports Network in 1987 started the Eddie Robinson Award for the coach of the year in Division I-AA. A Robinson Award for player of the year in black college football started in 1994. The Football Writers Association named the Robinson Award for national coach of the year in 1997. Robinson served as president of the American Football Coaches Association and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. He talked about his career: "I'm proud that most of our players graduate. We begin each meeting with a talk about the importance of education. The most important thing in football is the boy who plays the game. You can't coach 'em unless you love 'em." Edward G. Robinson was born Feb. 13, 1919, in Jackson, Louisiana. He attended McKinley High School in Baton Rouge and was running back on a football team that went 27-0 in 3 years. He attended Leland College, was football quarterback in 1939-40; the team had an 18-1 record. He began coaching at Grambling in 1941 with a 3-5 record. In 1942 there were 67 men in the college, and 33 were on the football squad. The Tigers had a 9-0 record; they were unbeaten, untied, and unscored on. The university had no team in the war years 1943-44. Robinson coached those years at Grambling High School. He returned to his college job in 1945. He received a bachelors degree from Leland, a master's from Iowa, an honorary doctor of laws from Louisiana Tech and an honorary doctor of letters from Yale.