Things are not all bright and peachy for the Grambling football program. The program has lost 17 straight games and fired head coach Doug Williams in September. Frustrations apparently boiled over among the players this week, feeling disrespected by the administration and walking out of an administrative meeting on Tuesday and skipping a team practice on Wednesday.
Former Super Bowl MVP quarterback for the Washington Redskins, Doug Williams, was fired as the head coach of the Tigers in September following the second game of the season. He was replaced by running backs coach George Ragsdale, but it appears as though the team had already been lost.
According to a report by Shreveport Times, Grambling football players met with Grambling’s president Frank Progue, athletic director Aaron James, Ragsdale and the president of the student government on Tuesday to address recent hassles concerning team travel and other issues, such as the firing of Williams last month. Per the report, players became increasingly frustrated with the conversations during the meeting and walked out. Although there is conflicting information on how many players walked out of the meeting, it is reported without much conflict that none of the players showed up for practice on Wednesday.
Among the concerns of the players seems to be the university not providing meals for the team, bussing the team long distances rather than flying, and a lack of trust on the staff. As Shreveport Times notes, assistant coaches were previously informed they would have their jobs through December following the dismissal of Williams, but one assistant coach has since been fired.
Grambling is one of the most successful HBCU programs in the country, having won five black college football national championships since 2000 and six SWAC titles in that time span. Former head coach Eddie Robinson is a legend in the college football universe and the recognized record holder for most coaching victories, with 408*. Seeing just how bad things have gotten for the program since winning the SWAC title in 2011 is somewhat amazing.
This sounds like a big mess for the Grambling program, and that is a shame to see. How long it will take the right leadership to turn things around for the program remains to be seen, but if any of these concerns are legitimate, it will take a real determined coach to begin taking on the job as head coach at Grambling.
* Penn State’s Joe Paterno won 409 games but was stripped of the official NCAA record following sanctions against the program that stripped the school of over 100 wins.