Bobby Bowden Reflects on Eddie Robinson

Florida State Football Coach Bobby Bowden on the loss of Eddie Robinson:

“First time I met Eddie was around 1968 up at Uniontown, Pa.; I was an assistant coach at West Virginia and he was the head coach at Grambling and very successful. He came up there and spoke at a banquet that was the first time I met him. I heard him speak and he’s the kind of guy that you get close to immediately – he was that way. He was a people’s person. You can’t help but like him.

“Jake Gaither over here (at Florida A&M) was the same way. Jake was the same way. Eddie Robinson and Jake Gaither had more to do with the integration of football – of integrating the black athlete in the South – than any other coaches in the United States. Jake had been the coach to an all African-American school. Eddie had been at Grambling – all African-American. Then they started integrating into Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and the other colleges. And it could have been a very shaky thing but these two guys did more to make that successful than anybody in the United States of America. That’s the thing I will always remember about Eddie Robinson and Jake Gaither.”

“I’ve know Eddie through the years – he’s been to clinics and I’ve spoke at clinics when he was there. I’ve been to clinics where he spoke. I doubt if there is a coach in the United States that people have more respect for – and loved – than for Eddie Robinson. I hate to see him go but he was probably sick to the point where he is happier right now. Eddie Robinson had to go to heaven – there’s no doubt in my mind.”