Never Before, Never Again
The Autobiography of Eddie Robinson
Publication Date: September 1, 1999
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Franklin Roosevelt was America's President when Eddie Robinson coached his first game. Fifty-seven years later, Robison left Grambling as the winningest coach in the history of college football. Initially a coach for a segregated society, Eddie Robinson has helped football transcend race in the America he loves and treasures. Yet institutionalized racial barriers kept Robinson a secret from white America for more than 25 years until Howard Cosell did an ABC special on Grambling in the late 1960s. Outside of the world of sport, white America still barely knows him. In the African-American community, he is very likely the best-known coach in America. He is surely the most beloved.
Never Before, Never Again chronicles Coach Robinson's life and his time at Grambling in vivid detail. He overcame all those things that might have predicted that it was not possible for the son of a sharecropper and a domestic worker to become a success. He got a master's degree, became the president of the American Football Coaches Association, and helping thousands of young boys become outstanding men. More than wins, they may be his greatest legacy.
But as much as Coach Robinson's memoir is about sports, it's a social history history as well. The book is a lens through which readers can see the challeges and turmoil of the civil rights movements from the perspective of a sports figure who worked the playing fields of a black campus while caring deeply about the stakes and outcome of the struggle . This book places the hard-news events of the day in the time frame of the trails of Robinson's Grambling teams of that era. Also included are the thoughts of other coaches (both college and NFL) on Coach Robinson, as well as those of national leaders like Reverend Jesse Jackson, M.J. "Mike" Foster, the governor of Lousiana, and President Clinton.
Never Before, Never Again stands as lasting testimony to the work of a true American hero.
Eddie G. Robinson spent 57 years as the head coach of Grambling University. He won an unprecedented 408 college football games and sent 220 players to the NFL. He was recently inducted into the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. He lives in Grambling, LA.
Richard E. Lapchick was selected as one of the "100 Most powerful people in sport" by The Sporting News. Lapchick brought his experience as a civil rights activist, scholar, and author to Northeastern University where he founded and has directed the Center for the Study of Sport in Society since 1984. He has written nine books and is a regular columnist for The Sporting News. Lapchick serves as an advisor to the Reverend Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Commission on Fairness in Sport and to the players assocations of the NBA and NFL on the issue of racial hiring practices in sport.