Skip to main content

Spring Practice, and the Passing of a Legend

It's been quiet as I'm working on my "New Realities of the Patriot League" piece for College Sporting News. Similarly, it's been quiet about spring practice in the media so far. The inside word I have is that spring practice is going OK, and everyone is "working hard and competing well." The trenches are getting particular attention as coach Coen is looking for kids who will be step up and handle the large scholarship line of Villanova this September 8th (our opening day at Goodman this year). Only two weeks until the Brown/White game, where we'll be able to see the progress of both lines!

That's it for this week, though in case you hadn't heard, a FCS coaching legend passed earlier this week, former Grambling State coach Eddie Robinson. The winningest head coach in Division I history, he built tiny Grambling State into a college powerhouse, giving the historically black university a formidable national presence. Starting as coach in 1941, he started coaching in a time when the Army wasn't even integrated, let alone the South. He also coached at a university that many white people would have never heard of in 1941. By the '50s and '60s, white America would be following Grambling State as well, especially in the south.

In 1949, the NFL's Rams took a chance on an undrafted All-American free agent from Grambling State called Paul "Tank" Younger who would become the first black football player to play in the NFL. Their "color-blindness" would pay off with Younger becoming an integral part of their rushing attack in three appearances in the NFC championship in five years. That opened the gateways for not only Grambling State athletes to make the NFL, but many other HBCU athletes as well. Coach Robinson shredded the color barrier by proving that black players were as good as white players - a point that hasn't been brought up enough in the columns eulogizing him.

Despite his deserved place in the pantheon of civil rights pioneers, it's coach Robinson the person - by all accounts a humble and deeply respected man - that stays with people the most. Not only was he successful by many measures (number of athletes going pro, winning seasons, Black College National Championships), he was most successful in getting kids ready for life. Generations of Grambling graduates thank him for preparing them for lives outside of college that had nothing to do with the NFL.

We will miss you Coach Rob.

Comments

Ngineer said…
Nice article. The passing of Coach Robinson is a time to pause and realize how one individual can have such an impact on the lives of others, both directly and indirectly. He belongs on the 'Rushmore' of college coaches.
Anonymous said…
Word going around the street is that Pete Morelli has been trying out for various teams in the Canadian Football League and is likely to earn a spot north of the border. Good for you pete, best of luck eh!

Popular posts from this blog

Nick Shafnisky Is Pushing Hard to Get To Play at the Next Level in Football

"Don't take anything for granted, just keep pushing."
Those are the words of QB Nick Shafnisky, told to The Whitehall-Coplay Press all the way back in 2013, about his preparation as a high school athlete.
And they seem to summarize the Whitehall, PA native perfectly, then as now.
Dubbed the "Male Athlete of the Year" by that publication, the article goes on about Shaf's many exploits at Whitehall high school - leading the Zephyr football team to a co-Lehigh Valley Conference title, becoming the first player ever in that conference to rush and pass for over 1,000 yards, and earning the league's co-MVP award as well.
He also was a member of the Zephyrs playoff basketball team, and for good measure also helped set a record for the 4x100 relay team as well.
At Whitehall, and at Lehigh, coaches pushed him, but it was his own hard work that helped make him the best athlete he could be.
This weekend, Shaf, like every eligible college football player, will be …

What Are You Doing the Night of Lehigh's 2017 Home Opener?

I have this vision.

It's the weekend of the home opener at Murray Goodman Stadium, Labor Day weekend.  It could be a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday.

And it's 6:00 PM.

In 2018, the Lehigh football team will open the season with a big celebration of the football program - at Navy, Lehigh's first game against an FBS team in over a decade.

In 2017, why not, as a one-off opportunity, try to have one Lehigh football game, the home opener, be the first-ever night game at Murray Goodman Stadium?

Will it cost money?  Yes.  Will it be easy?  Probably not.

However, is it doable?  I've got to believe the answer is "yes".


Seven Positive Thoughts About All the Patriot League Recruiting Classes

It's recruiting season.  Every incoming recruit is a Patriot League all-star, everyone is a first team all-American, everyone is undefeated.  It's all good times, a chance for kids to be admitted to some of the best Universities in the world.  In that, it's a win for everyone.

While we wait for each of the remaining recruits to be announced as a part of their recruiting classes, I thought I'd comb through all of the incoming classes of the Patriot League and tell you what sticks out to me.

This summart isn't a ratings-based system, than folks like 247Sports have in terms of measuring the number of "starred recruits" (they list Holy Cross as the "winner"), or even a hybrid-based system, like LFN's yearly Patsy Ratings (last seasons "winner": Lehigh) or HERO Sports' list of the top overall FCS recruits (which lists Lafayette as the "winner").  It's just one guy, looking at the recruit lists, and giving his opinion.