Coach­ing leg­end Robin­son dies at 88

USA TODAY International Edition - - Sports line - By Roscoe Nance and Nick Deriso USA TO­DAY

Ed­die Robin­son, coach at Gram­bling State Univer­sity for nearly 60 years, died Tues­day night in Rus­ton, La., af­ter be­ing ad­mit­ted to a hospi­tal ear­lier in the day. He was 88. Robin­son was di­ag­nosed with Alzheimer’s dis­ease shortly af­ter he re­tired in 1997.

Funeral ar­range­ments were in­com­pleteWed­nes­day for a coach who holds the Di­vi­sion I record for wins in col­lege foot­ball 10 sea­sons af­ter re­tir­ing.

Robin­son logged 408 vic­to­ries at the his­tor­i­cally black col­lege be­tween 1941 and 1997. He also pro­duced 45 win­ning sea­sons, won nine Na­tional Black Col­lege cham­pi­onships and 17 South­west­ern Ath­letic Con­fer­ence ti­tles, coached four col­lege foot­ball Hall of Famers (Buck Buchanan, Paul “Tank” Younger, Gary “Big Hands” John­son and Doug Wil­liams) and sent­more than 200 play­ers to the NFL, in­clud­ing four Pro Foot­ball Hall of Famers (Buchanan, Wil­lie Davis, Wil­lie Brown and Char­lie Joiner).

“He ranks right up there with Bear Bryant and Amos Alonzo Stagg,” Joiner said. “It re­minds me of one time when an­other per­son asked this one guy if Coach Rob was in a class by him­self. He stood there and thought for a long time. I re­ally can’t say, but it doesn’t take long to call the roll.”

He is sur­vived by his wife Doris, son Ed­die Jr., and daugh­ter Lil­lian Robin­son.

“It’s tough,” said Wil­liams, an All-Amer­i­can quar­ter­back at Gram­bling who suc­ceeded Robin­son as coach in 1998.“We all knowit’s com­ing. But that’s Ed­die Robin­son. Ed­die Robin­son is not sup­posed to go. But when you look back at it, there’s lot of joy init too. I don’t thin­knoneof ushave toworry about where he’s go­ing to be from nowon. He is a gate keeper.”

Wil­liams, MVP of Su­per Bowl XXII, is cur­rently the Tampa Bay Buc­ca­neers per­son­nel ex­ec­u­tive.

Robin­son al­ways said hewanted to be re­mem­bered as a coach who cared about his play­ers and tried to mold them into pro­duc­tive cit­i­zens. His phi­los­o­phy: “You have to coach them as though he were the boy who was go­ing tomarry your daugh­ter,” and “you can’t coach them if you don’t love them.”

USA TO­DAY · THURS­DAY, APRIL

1995 USA TO­DAY photo

Robin­son: Won D-I record 408 games.

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