Timeline Of Grambling’s Fall From Grace

Doug Williams firing in September was one of many events that triggered the current chaos surrounding Grambling State’s football program. (KBTS photo)

Once upon a time, Grambling was the model of consistency, tradition and excellence in HBCU sports. Eddie Robinson reigned over the football program for 57 years, producing over 200 NFL players from the 1940s to the ’90s. However, the past 20 months have been a steady downward spiral to the mess we see today. Here’s a few of the lowlights…

February 2011-Rod Broadway Leaves For NC A&T, Williams Returns

Broadway came to Grambling after his first stint as a head coach at North Carolina Central. Broadway coached for four season at Grambling, compiling a 35-14 record, and winning the 2008 SWAC Championship. To this day, rumors persist that friction between Broadway and alumni led to his departure from Grambling.

Three weeks later, Doug Williams returned to his alma mater, which he coached from 1998-2003, leading it to three-straight SWAC titles during that span.

2011 Fiscal Plan Calls For Cuts 

As a result of fiscal cuts at the state level, Grambling decides to cut $1.19 million from its athletic budget for the 2011-2012 school year. The plan called for a reduction in funds for the operating budget, which could be one reason current players found themselves sitting on the bus for hours on the way to the Missouri and Circle City Classics in the past few weeks. 

December 2011-Grambling Wins The SWAC Championship

Coaching a team made almost exclusively of players recruited by his predecessor, Williams led Grambling to its 23rd SWAC title, and its 14th Black College Football Championship

June 2012-Williams Signs Three Year Deal

After working for an entire season without a contract, Williams signed a three-year deal with $250,000 per year.Williams had taken to suing the school over a contract dispute prior to the deal. The Tigers went 1-10 in the 2012 season, winning only against NAIA Virginia University of Lynchburg.

2012-2013 Basketball Season

Already under APR restrictions that limited it to 10 scholarships, Grambling reportedly fields a team with just eight players under scholarship, composing the rest of the team of walkons. Grambling’s record reflected that, as the team went 0-27, losing all of their games by double figures.

July 2013- AD Resigns After Coaching Scandal

Less than 18 months after being hired, Percy “Chico” Caldwell resigned as athletic director. His short time at Grambling involved APR restrictions, a winless men’s basketball season and a failed attempt to raise a student athletic fee. Shortly before his resignation, Caldwell fired two of Williams’ assistant coaches, less than 24 hours after he left, those coaches were added back to the coaching staff. 

September 2013-Williams Fired As Head Coach

In a move that shocked the sports world, Grambling President Frank Pogue fired Doug Williams after an 0-2 start to the 2013 season. Williams said he was called into Pogue’s office, handed a letter and told he was no longer the coach. Assisant George Ragsdale, a former teammate of Williams, was named interim head coach.

October 2013-Players Strike, Ragsdale Removed As Coach

Days after a 48-0 loss to Alcorn State in the Circle City Classic, the team’s 17th straight to an NCAA team, players met with school officials to express greivances over long bus rides, athletic facilites and Williams’ firing. The players later walked out of the meeting, and skipped practice on Wednesday and Thursday.  Ragsdale was removed as head coach on Thursday afternoon, making Dennis “Dirt” Winston the team’s third head coach in less than six weeks.

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