University urges school, community support for new head coach Fobbs, rebuilding football team as well as other sports, play and pageant
By E’VONNE GIPSON
Grambling State University Media Bureau
Grambling State University hasn’t seen anything like this weekend in a long, long time, if ever, according to GSU Athletic Director Aaron James.
“I will be attending all of the many events on Friday and Saturday,” said James. “It will be tough getting to all of them, but I am excited …”
The university’s weekend of activities starts Friday with a “meet and greet” with the football coaches at the Eddie G. Robinson Museum on campus and continues Saturday with events that include a parade, a flag football game with alumni football players and the annual Black and Gold Game. People with a little different taste can see “The Great Gatsby” in the afternoon and the Miss Cover Girl pageant Saturday night. Then, there’s more on Sunday.
Though some faculty, staff, students and alumni have heard about one or two of the events, more are hearing how much is planned and they are getting excited.
“Whoever is working behind the scenes with Coach (Broderick) Fobbs is really great, because this is what the G-Men football needs in order to rebuild their reputation,” said Ninfa Saavedra, a junior mass communication major from Fresno, Texas, a suburb outside of Houston.
That’s exactly what the football program has planned, and the idea guy behind all the football-focused activity is Wayne Cordova, GSU football’s director of player personnel and running backs coach.
“Honestly, the Grambling football program has had a couple disappointing years, and this is a time for the school now to go in a different direction,” said Cordova. He said people will be excited when they see everything planned this weekend “and people will become more excited about the university.”
“When outside students see Grambling extracurricular activities doing well,” he added, “their success increases enrollment…and the university excels.”
Cordova worked with a team of people to plan several events to build excitement and support around this year’s Black and Gold game. The flag football game will feature former GSU players in a 7-on-7 game with players playing offense and defense. The honorary coaches for this game will include Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover, Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo, Ruston Fire Chief James Austin and Eddie G. Robinson III, grandson of legendary head football coach Eddie G. Robinson and a GSU alum.
After the flag football game and before the big Black and Gold game, a parade will feature a number of individuals and groups, including GSU President Frank G. Pogue and first lady Dorothy Pogue, serving as parade grand marshals; athletics representatives and a number of campus and community organizations. A feature attraction will be GSU’s World Famed Tiger Marching Band in the 1 p.m. parade. There is no admission to football-related activities, with the exception of a $7/per person breakfast social for former GSU athletes at Ryan’s at 9 a.m. Saturday in Ruston.
As the G-Men run plays at Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium, those interested in theater can see the last production of “The Great Gatsby” at the Conrad Hutchinson Performing Arts Center at 2:30 p.m. The visual and performing arts production has run this past week and Saturday is the finale performance.
The Black and Gold Game is played each spring. Students, faculty, staff and some alumni and supporters come out to see what’s coming this fall as the G-Men do their best to show the coaches what they have in a real-time game situation. They will play a game against their teammates putting their training and practice time to test on the field as they give fans a preview of the 2014 squad.
A little later in the day, after a host of activities and the play, the university’s 46th Annual Miss Calendar Girl Scholarship Pageant starts at 7 p.m. in T.H. Harris Auditorium. Some of last year’s participants are anxious to see the new contestants.
“I’m excited to see how the hard work of the young ladies will be translated on the stage. I know they worked long and hard to prepare for the pageant,” said Tierra Smith, a junior mass communication major from Houston and Miss Academic Excellence 2013-2014.
La’Resha Taylor, last year’s Miss January in the pageant, had a great experience last year. “It was an amazing experience. It felt like I was a celebrity for the night because of the bright shining lights, props and applause from the audience, and having the experience of meeting and sharing the experience with the other contestants,” said Taylor, a social work major from Texas.
Several sports teams are on the road as the GSU football, baseball and women’s tennis teams play on campus or nearby. The baseball team faces rival Southern University at 12 noon at Wilbert Ellis Field at R.W.E. Jones Park and they play again on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Lady Tiger tennis team faces Louisiana Tech University Sunday in Ruston at 2 p.m. Admission is free.
Athletic Director Aaron James, Head Football Coach Broderick Fobbs, and Band Director Larry Pannell are some of the university family who are excited about, and will be participating in this weekend’s events.