By Willie Alex Hines
Twenty five years ago, on October 7, 1995, Grambling State Coach Eddie Robinson became the first NCAA Football Coach to reach 400 wins when Grambling State defeated Mississippi Valley State 42-6 before national television audience on ESPN2. A game that we need to have ESPN televised this historic game for us HBCU Sports fans.
Coach Robinson coached for 57 years at Grambling State began coaching from 1941 to 1942 and
resumed in 1945 to 1997 with an overall record of 408-165-15.
On September 28, 1985, Coach Robinson tied Coach Bear Bryant with the most wins at 323, when Grambling defeated FBS Oregon State 23-6, and passed Coach Bryant the following week on October 5, 1985 at the State Fair Classic in Dallas, the Tigers defeated Prairie View 27-7 to pass Coach Bryant to become the NCAA all-time winningest Football Coach.
Coach Robinson sent over 200 players to the NFL including four NFL Hall of Famers Willie Brown, Junious “Buck” Buchanan, Willie Davis and Charlie Joiner. He also coached Doug Williams, the first African-American quarterback to win the Super Bowl.
Coach Robinson was known as a teacher, counselor, coach, father to his players. Many his players graduated with a rate of over 80 percent for the 57 years that he coached. Doug Williams remembers when Coach Robinson came to his house to recruit him and told his mother that if he comes to Grambling. I will make sure he graduates in fouryears and that he will go to church on Sundays. Williams said his mother came in his room and said, son you are going to Grambling.
Coach Robinson’s motto was one job and one wife and he stayed married to Doris Robinson for 66 years until he died in 2007 at the age of 88 of Alzheimer’s. But on that historic day a quarter century ago, ESPN2 televised an historic event with Coach Robinson getting win number 400.