Quotes on the death of Eddie Robinson

Updated: April 4, 2007, 10:55 PM ET
Associated Press

"Nobody in America, not even the President -- there ain't nobody out there that can out-American Eddie Robinson. He loved to wave that flag." -- Former Grambling and NFL quarterback Doug Williams

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"I don't know if I would be where I am today if there had been no Eddie Robinson. He put that spark into everyone, that will to be more, to be the best." -- Williams

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"Coach Rob did a lot more for us than teach us about football. He used to come through the halls early in the morning with a cow bell, waking us up for class and for church." -- Former Grambling and NFL cornerback Everson Walls

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"He gave us a way of looking at life. He used to say first one to cry is a sissy. That was his way of saying there are no excuses. He always wanted us to look for a way to succeed, not a reason to fail." -- Walls

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"Laura and I are saddened to learn of the death of Eddie Robinson. Eddie Robinson was a football legend who compiled an amazing record as the coach at Grambling State University. He will be remembered for his passion for the game and his dedication to helping his players better themselves on the field, in the classroom, and in their communities. Laura and I extend our deepest sympathies to the Robinson family, the players he inspired, and Grambling State University." -- President Bush

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"People look at black pride in America and sport's impact on it. In the major cities it took off the first time Jackie Robinson stole home. In the deep South, it started with Eddie Robinson, who took a small college in northern Louisiana with little or no funds and sent the first black to the pros and made everyone look at him and Grambling." -- Jerry Izenberg, sports columnist emeritus at the Star-Ledger of Newark and close friend since 1963

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"As a coach, he guided the lives and collegiate careers of many football players who were fortunate to have attended Grambling State. As a person, he used the sport he loved to teach young men and women how to become good citizens and to succeed in athletics and in life." -- part of statement issued by the Southwestern Athletic Conference

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"The coaching profession has lost one of its true legends. Though he was best known for winning more football games than any other coach when he retired, Eddie Robinson's impact on coaching and the game of football went far beyond wins and losses. He brought a small school in northern Louisiana from obscurity to nationwide, if not worldwide, acclaim and touched the lives of hundreds and hundreds of young men in his 57 years at Grambling. That will be his greatest legacy." -- Grant Teaff, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association

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"He was a legendary coach, a great teacher and an extraordinary man. I've known him for many years. We were terrific friends and I lament his loss." -- George Steinbrenner, New York Yankees owner, in statement

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"I know you notice coaches on the sideline with their game plan. It's usually a condensed, summarized plan of three or four pages. Coach Robinson, when he came on the field, he came with a briefcase. I'm serious. He had a manuscript." -- W.C. Gordon, former Jackson State coach

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"To me he was the Martin Luther King of football. I have never seen him angry, derogatory toward any opponent or team that he played against. As a matter of fact, he stayed with the tradition. He always wore a suit, a necktie and a coat to ballgames. He was very sophisticated. He carried the attitude that he loved everybody." -- Gordon

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"Everybody wanted to play at Grambling. He'd done such a fantastic job. He was on national TV, you know, and that was the first time I'd ever seen a black college football team on TV growing up. I remember it was in black and white." -- Rick Comegy, current Jackson State coach

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"He was a role model, and a pacesetter. He took black college football to the big stadiums nationally and internationally. The Grambling Tigers football team and marching band became a worldwide frame of reference." -- The Rev. Jesse Jackson

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"Today we mourn the loss of a great Louisianan and a true American hero. Coach Eddie Robinson became the most successful college coach of all time and one of the greatest civil rights pioneers in our history. ... Coach Robinson elevated a small town program to national prominence and tore down barriers to achieve an equal playing field for athletes of all races." -- Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco

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"Eddie Robinson's name is synonymous with the sport of football. We will be forever grateful for the more than 200 young men he developed at Grambling who starred in the NFL and those who later coached the next generation of NFL players. He always focused on coaching his players to be better men as well as better football players. My most vivid memory of coach Robinson was seeing how pleased he was as he stood in the Redskins' locker room after his former Grambling standout Doug Williams led his team to victory and was named the Super Bowl XXII MVP." -- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

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"Wow, this guy was bigger than life itself. He really impressed me by the way he handled himself, what he believed in and what he stood for. ... I couldn't have learned from a better coach than Robinson." -- Hall of Famer, Raiders assistant and former Grambling star Willie Brown

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"There is no question that Eddie Robinson was a figure that was larger than life for most African-American young men of that era. At that time, Grambling was The Program and Eddie Robinson was The Man. One of the first football camps I ever attended was in Shenandoah, Va. The reason I attended was because Eddie Robinson was going to be there. ... He stood for all the right things." -- University of Washington coach Tyrone Willingham

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"Eddie Robinson was one of the giants in coaching. He was a great football coach and person who made tremendous contributions to our profession. He made a positive impact on the lives of thousands of young people. He was a great ambassador for Grambling and represented his school with pride, class and commitment." -- Penn State coach Joe Paterno


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press