The Sports Network established the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award
in 1987, and it has been presented annually to the top coach in FCS, formerly
known as Division I-AA. The winner is chosen by a nationwide panel
of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and
other dignitaries from the division.
Robinson retired as college football's all-time winningest coach with a record
of 408-164-15. He surpassed the legendary Paul "Bear" Bryant for most
victories on Oct. 5, 1985, when Grambling State defeated Prairie View A&M. He
won his unprecedented 400th game on Oct. 7, 1995 against Mississippi Valley
Robinson retired after 57 years of coaching following the 1997 season. He
arrived at Grambling in 1941 at the age of 22 after graduating from the now-
defunct Leland College in Baton Rouge, La. He then guided the once-
obscure Grambling State University Tigers to international popularity.
Robinson's teams have played in almost every major city in the United States,
and Grambling State and Morgan State were the first two United States college
teams to play football in Japan, when they appeared in Tokyo in 1976.
Under Robinson's tutelage, Grambling State has become one of the most
prolific "training camps" for professional football, having sent more than 300
players to pro camps, including more than 200 who have played in the NFL.
Grambling State received its first national attention in 1949 when Paul "Tank"
Younger signed with the Los Angeles Rams, becoming the first player from a
historically black college to be taken by the NFL. Other former Tigers
players who left their mark on the NFL include Hall-of-Famers Willie Brown,
Buck Buchanan and Willie Davis. Robinson pupils also included former Super
Bowl MVP and two-time Grambling State head coach Doug Williams, Charlie
Joiner, Frank Lewis, Essex Johnson, Billy Newsome and John Mendenhall.
In the words of late Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno, "Nobody
has ever done or ever will do what Eddie Robinson has done for college
football. Eddie Robinson and Jake Gaither (Florida A&M) stand alone. Our
profession will never ever be able to repay Eddie Robinson for what he has done
for the country and the profession of football."