Grambling football, as it stands today, looks a lot like what we’re used to.
Not only is GSU currently 4-1 (4-0 in the SWAC) heading into their homecoming game against UAPB, they are nationally ranked and a top contender for both the SWAC Championship and Celebration Bowl.
It’s a far cry from where the historically dominant program was three years ago, when the program’s dirty laundry went viral thanks to a player revolt that resulted in a no show against Jackson State and photos showing moldy workout equipment.
So what’s changed about Grambling’s program since then? Two words: Broderick Fobbs.
The former Tiger, who played under the legendary Eddie Robinson, has breathed new life into the program that went 2-19 in the two seasons prior to his arrival.
“Your kids tend to mold yourself after your staff and yourself. Your team becomes your personality, and our coaching staff’s personality,” Fobbs said at his weekly press conference before the UAPB game. “And I think it’s taken some time for that to happen, because that doesn’t happen overnight. I think our guys are really starting to understand and start to get, but we have to keep the pressure on in order to continue.”
It started with a 7-5 season in 2014, in which the team was one Bayou Classic win away from going to the SWAC Championship. Last season the team finished 9-3, making it to the SWAC Championship Game, where they lost to Alcorn State. This season the team is tied for the SWAC West lead with rival Southern, which means the two Louisiana schools could be on a collision course for the SWAC title game again.
“We talk alot about becoming a champion and being a champion. It’s two different things,” Fobbs said. “Our job is to make sure that we continue to sacrifice week in, week out, day in, day out, so that we can do that.”
From everything we’ve seen from Fobbs in two-and-a-half seasons, it appears Grambling is well on their way. The administration apparently thinks so as well, he signed a two-year extension earlier this week which will keep him as head coach through the end of 2018.
“Coach Fobbs has done an incredible job both on the field and off, and we have to acknowledge, appreciate and support that,” GSU President Rick Gallot said. “There’s no question that Fobbs and our winning football program have been a big part of attracting more attention and more applicants. With 70 percent more applications this year compared to last year this time, that’s phenomenal, and it shows that a winning program has a real impact on recruiting.”
While Fobbs agreed to an extension, he didn’t take a pay raise. At least not up front. He declined a salary increase due to the financial situation the school currently finds itself in, but he and his coaching staff will accept financial incentives should his team accomplish goals like winning the SWAC Championship, the Celebration Bowl or a Black College National Championship.
Instead of money, Fobbs is driven by his vision for his alma mater. It’s clear to him, but he’s careful who he shares it with at this point.
“The vision and things that I saw that has stayed with me since 2013, it’s not here yet, so the task is not complete,” he said. “I can’t tell you exactly what that vision was, it would blow your mind. But the couple people that I’ve shared it with, they believe it. And when you see it, you’ll see what I’m talking about.”
We don’t know what Fobbs’ vision for Grambling is, but if they haven’t arrived at it yet, the rest of the SWAC, FCS and HBCU football better watch out.