This Day in Black History: Nov. 29, 1997

Eddie Robinson coached his last football game at Grambling State University.

Posted: 11/29/2013 12:00 AM EST
Eddie Robinson

Eddie Robinson is football. The former head football coach of Grambling State University is the second Division I coach with the most wins in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Coach Robinson ended his 57-year reign as head coach of Grambling State on Nov. 29, 1997.

Robinson stepped on the scene in 1941 when Franklin D. Roosevelt was president, way before the civil rights movement and at a time when schools were still segregated and racist tensions were high. However, he was able to break racial barriers, proving that Blacks were just as good at America’s sport as whites. During his career, Robinson coached 4,000 players, over 80 percent of whom received college degrees; in addition to coaching three NFL Hall of Famers.

After more than five decades of coaching every football game from the field, coaching the Grambling girl’s basketball team and teaching at the university, Robinson’s health began to fail.  When he retired in 1997 he had a whopping 408 wins, 165 losses and 15 ties. Only John Gagliardi of Division III St. John's University and Joe Paterno of Penn State (Penn State stripped Paterno of all his wins) won more games than Robinson. For his phenomenal efforts he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997.

Although Robinson never won a Division I national championship, he was and still is a legend. Robinson died of Alzheimer's disease on April 3, 2007, and was one of the best coaches in the history of college sports.

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 (Photo: Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

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