Eddie Gay Robinson was born February 13, 1919 in Jackson, Louisiana to the son of a sharecropper and a domestic worker. He went on to graduate from McKinley Senior High School in Baton Rouge in 1937. He earned his bachelor's degree from Leland College in Baker, then obtained his master's degree from the University of Iowa in Iowa City in 1954.
Robinson was a legendary football college coach who spent fifty-six years as the head coach at historically black Grambling State University from 1941 through 1997. He established himself as the winningest coach in college football history, becoming the first coach to record 400 wins. Even during the era of segregation in the deep South, Robinson's talened was praised by many white coaches, especially by the legendary Bear Bryant of the Univeristy of Alabama at Tuscaloosa.
More than 200 of Robinson's players went on to play in the National Football League, including Super Bowl XXII MVP, Redskins quarterback Doug Williams, who succeeded Robinson as Grambling's head coach in 1998.
Robinson had 45 winning seasons, including winning or sharing 17 Southwestern Athletic Conference championships and eight black college football national championships.
Coach Eddie Robinson died on April 3, 2007 at Lincoln General Hospital in Ruston, Louisiana. He had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease shortly after his retirement from football in the late '90ies. Robinson is being honored in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His family, friends and former football players have gathered in the Louisiana state capitol for a memorial service honoring him. The school's marching band played in today's (Monday) tribute, as 50 of Robinson's former players looked on in dark suits and white gloves. Robinson's son The public can view his casket at the state capitol and pay respects before his burial on Wednesday. Coach Robinson was says the service was a "celebration of his life, his legacy." His wife says she's doing O-K, but already misses him "so much." Doris and Eddie Robinson married soon after he landed the coaching job at Grambling in 1941. Robinson's body will be taken to Grambling for a wake tomorrow
evening. He will be buried on Wednesday.