Eddie Robinson deserves full credit as top winning college coach

Eddie Robinson won 408 football games at Grambling State, and Joe Paterno passed Robinson up with his 409th win in October 2011 to be named Division I’s all-time winningest coach. When the NCAA’s hammer came down on Penn State last week and stripped the school of 112 wins, the Philadelphia Inquirer in its story rightfully noted, “Robinson moves past Paterno as winningest coach.”

But the mainstream sports media snobs quickly cried, “Hey, wait a minute — hold on!” and stamped their UUM — undervalued, underestimated and marginized — on Robinson’s legacy.

The first “U” — Robinson coached at Grambling, a Black college.

The second “U” — His 400-plus wins came against other Black schools.

And the “M” — He’s Black.

Rather the snobs leapfrogged to former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, who won 377 wins, over Robinson, conveniently forgetting that Bowden was earlier stripped of a season’s worth of wins by the NCAA because of the school’s academic fraud charges.

What kind of math is it when Bowden at number three becomes number one without any additional victories? When it is cultural conditioning — White people are superior, and Black people are inferior. White coaches are superior and Black coaches are inferior. Major college football (translation: White) is superior and football played at such schools as Grambling (translation: Black) is inferior.

Kevin Hunter of Regal Magazine wrote in February, “Coaches who blazed the trails for the most famous and successful top 10 coaches today,” and named the following top 10 Black coaches of all time.

Naturally, Robinson is number one: 45 winning seasons, 17 Southwestern Athletic Conference titles and nine Black College Football National Championships from 1941-1997 — all at Grambling, where he was the school’s first football coach. Robinson coached over 200 players who played in the National Football League (including Doug Williams, the first Black quarterback to lead a team to a Super Bowl victory) and the Canadian Football League and three Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees.

Robinson, who died in 2007, was immediately inducted into College Football Hall of Fame after he retired, and the nation’s top Football Subdivision head coach now gets the Eddie Robinson Award.

No. 2 — K.C. Jones: Two NBA championships (1984, 1986), won 603 games and was inducted into Basketball Hall of Fame as a player.

No. 3 — Lenny Wilkens: Once the NBA’s all-time winningest coach, he won 1,412 games, coached in the playoffs 20 times, and won the 1978-79 championship. He also coached the USA team to Olympic basketball gold in 1996, the first and only Black coach to do so.

No. 4 — Cito Gaston: Became Major League Baseball’s third ever Black manager in 1989 with the Toronto Blue Jays, and first Black manager to win a World Series — he won back-to-back World Series championships and won 894 games.

No. 5 — Bill Russell: First Black coach ever to win an NBA title as Boston player-coach (1967-68; 68-69). Later, he coached at Seattle and Sacramento. He won 375 games.

No. 6 — Tony Dungy: First Black coach to win a Super Bowl. He won five consecutive division titles with Tampa Bay and six division crowns with Indianapolis in 12 seasons. Five Black assistants of his later became NFL head coaches as well.

No. 7 — Mike Tomlin: Youngest coach to win a NFL championship in 2009. H won three division titles and two AFC titles with Pittsburgh.

No. 8 — John Thompson: First Black coach to win a Division I men’s basketball championship, and first Black named as USA Olympic head coach in 1988. His Georgetown teams reached the post-season 24 times in 26 seasons, five Big East regular season and tournament championships and three Final Four appearances. Won 596 games.

No. 9 — Tubby Smith: The current Gopher coach was the first Black head coach at Kentucky, where he won a NCAA title in his first season (1998).

No. 10 (tie) — Nolan Richardson, Doc Rivers: Richardson is the only coach in history to win a national junior college, NIT and NCAA championship  Rivers won the NBA championship in 2008.

These Black coaches aren’t any UUMs.


Twins hosts RBI games

Beginning this week, 24 teams will compete in the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) World Series — baseball (August 2-5) and softball (August 7-12) — at four Twin Cities sites:

• Neiman: Highway 62 East and Bloomington Road, Minneapolis

• Parade Stadium: 400 Kenwood Parkway, Minneapolis

• Toni Stone Field: Griggs Street and Marshall Avenue, St. Paul

• Dunning Field: 1221 Marshall Avenue, St. Paul

The baseball championship games will be at the Twins’ ballpark August 5, and the softball championship game will be at U-M’s Jane Sage Cowles Stadium August 12. Admission at all games is free.

“View” will provide exclusive RBI coverage in the next two MSR editions.


Did you know…?

How many collegiate and professional sports titles have been won by Black head coaches? (Answer in next week’s “View.”)

Answer to last week’s question: Name the Black women who made the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Title IX’s 40 FOR 40 list: Flo Hyman, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Queen Latifah, Condoleezza Rice, Susan Rice, Robin Roberts and Venus Williams.


Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to challman@spokesman-recorder.com.