December 5, 2013

G-Man Naquan Smith Honored for Leadership, Service

Naquan Smith, a graduate strong safety on the Grambling State University football team has been honored for his hard work and dedication on and off the field.

Naquan Smith, a graduate strong safety on the GSU football team
has been honored for his hard work and dedication on and off the field.

Grambling State University Media Bureau

New Orleans, La. – Naquan Smith, a graduate strong safety on the Grambling State University football team has been honored for his hard work and dedication on and off the field. 

In between the “trash talk” and jokes during Friday’s Bayou Classic coaches luncheon, Smith, of Atlanta, was recognized by United States Marines Corp.

“It is a great honor,” said interim GSU head football coach Dennis Winston. “(Smith) is deserving of it and will be a very productive citizen after college.”

Smith is more than a football player; he is a father, husband and mentor to other players.

“It means a lot to me that my coaches, teammates and others believe that I show great leadership,” said Smith, who graduated from Grambling State with a bachelor’s degree in sports management in May 2013 and is pursuing a master’s degree in sports administration.

Smith was notified of his accomplishment after GSU’s lost against University of Arkansas Pine Bluff  about three weeks ago. He has watched three teammates receive the leadership honor in recent years, including last year when his best friend Fabian Carter, a GSU kicker, was recognized.  

Smith said he and Carter are much like each other. “We give advice to the freshman and student-athletes and teach them how matriculate through Grambling State successfully,” he said.

Smith is rooted in the campus and Grambling communities. As an intern in the Office of Academic Enhancement at Grambling State, he mentors peers and freshman student-athletes. He teaches them how to adapt to college life, how to balance being a student-athlete and academics. In addition, he volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club of Ruston and Grambling Lab High School.

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Media Contact:
Will Sutton



GSU Alum from California Enjoys Bayou Classic Parade

By Ninfa Saavedra
Grambling State University Media Bureau

New Orleans, La. – Dressed in all black with the gold “G” plastered on her chest representing Grambling State University, the lady shouting  “GO GRAMBLING!” caught the attention of many. Californian Darrian Jessie, a 1981 GSU alumnae, was enjoying the Bayou Classic Thanksgiving Parade for the second year in a row.

“It’s so beautiful to see all the high schools and colleges enjoying the day. It’s something to be thankful for,” said Jessie as she watched the hour-long parade just off of Canal Street.

According to Jessie, she reigned as Ms. Bayou Classic first runner-up in 1980 during her tenure at GSU she was  a GSU cheerleader majoring in computer information systems. Jessie now works for Bechtel Corporation, which she described as “the biggest engineering firm in the world.”

Jessie plans to attend the Bayou Classic every year.

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Media Contact:
Will Sutton



ROOOOOAAAR! A New Tiger Arrives on Campus

Artist creates huge sculpture for the newly-named Tiger Square

New GSU Fighting Tiger Statue rests in the quadrangle across from Long-Jones Hall, Grambling Hall and the Eddie G. Robinson Museum.

New GSU Fighting Tiger Statue rests in the
quadrangle across from Long-Jones Hall, Grambling
Hall and the Eddie G. Robinson Museum.
(Photo: Ray Dudley)

Grambling State University Media Bureau

GRAMBLING, La. – There is a new tiger on campus.

This tiger is a large sculpture designed by Bridgette Mongeon, an artist who was given a contract to create a design especially for Grambling State University.

“This statue is designed to bring our university together the way we ought to be together,” said GSU President Frank G. Pogue. “This is going to be the gathering place.”

First thing Wednesday morning, word started to spread that the much-awaited tiger had arrived and students, faculty, staff and administrators gathered to watch as it was unloaded from a truck to its permanent home across from Long-Jones Hall, Grambling Hall and the Eddie G. Robinson Museum. That afternoon, Pogue and David Ponton, dean of students, examined the towering monument with appreciation and amazement.

“It’s exactly what we anticipated as we entered this three years ago; this is three years in the making, maybe even four,” said Pogue.

The sculpture was installed by Horton Construction Company Inc., a black-owned business in Shreveport that built the tiger foundation, according to Ante’ Britten, assistant vice president of finance and administration. Next week Horton will do more work, but university officials urge caution.

The area where the tiger stands is safe to visit, but due to preparations for more alterations in Tiger Square Britten cautions visitors to watch for mounds of dirt and holes in the ground. “We’re going to install three additional walkways as access points to the statue, additional concrete so that it will be better for taking pictures and a plaque that will have the date that the tiger was set up.”

Although the tiger statue has arrived as the campus beautification project comes to a close, it is not a part of that project since the idea was years in the making. “The tiger is not a direct part of the campus beautification project; in fact a lot of the campus beautification projects, in the area where the flag pole once stood, were built around the tiger,” added Britten.

According to Pogue, the tiger was “discussed by the students, supported by the students and to some extent funded by the students.”

“The idea for the tiger began at least three years ago with the SGA administration because (former, 2011 SGA President) Channing Gaulden was one of the first ones to mention a statue on campus,” said Ponton.

The massive structure will get an official GSU welcome at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. The president said there will be a special announcement: “We’re going to announce the competition to have students name the tiger.”

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Additional Information:

Media Contact:
Will Sutton



December 4, 2013

Fobbs Selected to Lead Grambling State University Football Team

McNeese State’s Broderick Lee Fobbs, a Gramblinite legacy, tapped to lead team

GSU President Frank G. Pogue and Athletic Director Aaron James announce the selection of Broderick Lee Fobbs as the next head football coach.
GSU President Frank G. Pogue and Athletic Director Aaron James
announce the selection of Broderick Lee Fobbs as the next
head football coach.

GRAMBLING, La. – Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue and Athletic Director Aaron James announce the selection of Gramblinite legacy Broderick Lee Fobbs as the next head coach of the university football team.

A second-generation graduate of Grambling State, Fobbs was chosen from a pool of more than 100 candidates. His appointment, effective Monday (Dec. 9), is pending University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors approval. A news conference is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Monday in the Doris Robinson Room of the Eddie G. Robinson Museum on the campus.

“I’m elated for the opportunity. Grambling State University is a prestigious institution. It’s an opportunity I’ve always dreamed of at a place where I’ve always dreamed of being,” said Fobbs. “I stand on the shoulders of a number of great men, and many of them coached and mentored me. They instilled in me the importance of GSU’s expectations, history and legacy and we’re going to do just what they expect and deserve.”

Fobbs, the tight ends coach at McNeese State University, was an honors student while playing GSU football in the late 1990s under legendary head football coach Eddie G. Robinson Sr., the NCAA’s winningest coach in Division I. He has experience recruiting across Louisiana both at McNeese (FCS school) and the University of Southern Mississippi (SBS school).

“I couldn’t be happier that Broderick has agreed to return home and lead our football program back to greatness,” said Pogue. “It’s obvious that we’ve had a couple of truly difficult seasons, and that’s not something that Grambling State alums and supporters are used to – and we’re about to change that with Fobbs.”

“We believe Fobbs is the right person to breathe new life into our football program, a Gramblinite who is professional, respectful, a listener, a doer and a strong administrator who understands the multiple roles of a good football coach in athletics and the university as a whole,” add Pogue. “This is a guy who knows and understands Grambling State and all of its deep, rich history and the tradition of winning on the field and off the field.”

“I’ve known Fobbs for a number of years,” added James, “and I am confident that he is the man for the job. It’s a big job with a lot of challenges and a lot of opportunities, but the guy came in with a heck of a plan and a presentation that wowed us.”

Since graduating from GSU in 1997 as the son of two Gramblinites, Fobbs coached high school football while in Waco, Texas; worked as a graduate assistant with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette football program and spent five seasons, 2002 to 2007, with Northwestern State University in a variety of coaching positions, including tight ends, receivers and running backs coach. The latter part of Fobbs career has been at McNeese State with the exception of a 2012 season stint at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Fobbs was a part of multiple championship football teams, including McNeese State’s 2009-2010 and 2007-2008 when each team made it to the FCS playoffs and Northwestern State University’s conference championship team in 2004-2005. He has a reputation as a strong motivator and leader, coaching a number of successful football players, including Darius Carey, a McNeese State All-American punt returner; Quinten Lawrence, a sixth-round draft pick with the Kansas City Chiefs from McNeese; Steven Whitehead, an All American who played/plays with the New Orleans Saints and Northwestern State’s David Pittman, a kickoff return specialist drafted in the third round by the Baltimore Ravens. While coaching at Northwestern State, he recruited and coached Derrick Doyle and Toby Zeigler, two of the most productive receivers in NSU history who rank No. 1 and No. 2 at the school in receptions, respectively. 

Fobbs, a native of Monroe, La., will coach with McNeese State as they face the Jacksonville State Gamecocks in an NCAA Division I FCS football championship game at Cowboy Stadium in Lake Charles, La., on Saturday at 6 p.m.

“I want to thank the football head coach search committee for a superb job,” said Pogue. “Theirs was a high-level, approach that included a rubric and questions for each candidate, a ranking system and a clear, objective feedback process. I’ve participated in and led a lot of searches, and this was one of the best I’ve ever seen.”

James thanked the football coaches, especially interim head coach Dennis “Dirt” Winston, for leading the football team through a difficult transition, helping the team become more competitive in the final weeks of the season.

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Additional Information

Media Contact:
Will Sutton



December 2, 2013

Bayou Classic Jump-Started With New Orleans Parade

Thousands take Thanksgiving break to enjoy bands, cheer squads and floats

Grambling State University Media Bureau

New Orleans, La. – As colorful beads flew from floats, Grambling State University and Southern University bands marched through downtown New Orleans with soulful music and moves. Parade watchers gathered closely together to shield the chilly wind on street corners and along the curbs to watch the annual Bayou Classic Thanksgiving Parade.

“We just arrived into New Orleans and we are going straight to the parade,” said Travis Matthews, a Houston mass communications major at Grambling State and a part of the Tiger cheerleading squad. “The weather is a major difference between the other three Bayou Classics I have been in.”

The annual parade drew thousands just two days before the two universities play the Bayou Classic football game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

Another GSU cheerleader was excited to be home for the classic and the holidays. “I love being here in my home city,” said Ceairra Price, 19, a sophomore biology major from New Orleans.

The parade included the World Famed Tiger Marching Band of Grambling State and the Human Jukebox of Southern as well as several local high school bands, alumni groups, cheerleaders, dance companies, steppers and radio and television personalities.

The streets were lined with competitive alums as they showed off their school pride with their university appeal and colors. For one Grambling alum, she has been attending Bayou Classic festivities for as long as she can remember.

“I have been attending Bayou Classic since I was in my mothers’ womb,” said Harmona Epps, a former flute player. “Grambling sounded awesome like always.”

Epps was with her mother, Beverly Wilson-Epps, and her sister, Hashawn Epps, each dressed from top to bottom in Grambling attire. Hashawn Epps, who played trumpet in the GSU marching band, even wore black and gold GSU shoes.

Lisa Allston drove from Monroe and skipped the dressing, marconi and cheese and turkey to find a good seat along the parade route.

“We didn’t have Thanksgiving dinner yet,” said Allston, 57, a GSU 1981 graduate. “We grabbed some snacks and kept driving. Everyone is excited and we have some more family coming from California and Florida.”

Some parade-goers had no connection to Grambling State or Southern, but they heard the music from restaurants and hotels and wanted to join the fun and excitement.

Dunia Juan, a 14-year-old from Spain, she said that she never experienced anything like it, especially the music and marching styles of the historically black universities. Juan, a ninth grader at Queens Metro High School in New York, was visiting New Orleans with her family. Meeting the GSU Tiger mascot was one of her favorite moments.

Although from the New Orleans area, DeAndre Degruy didn’t understand the intensity of the rivalry until seeing the GSU and SU fans face off at the parade. “It’s a real beef thing between Grambling and Southern,” said Degruy, 18, a freshman studying education at the University of New Orleans. “Grambling killed it. Southern was whack and dry.”

“I am excited to see the students’ spirits up despite the record of the football team,” said Larry Pannell, the GSU band director. “We may do a major upset this weekend; you can throw the record out the door.”

“This is a whole different series now,” said Edwin Thomas, the GSU percussion and drum line band director.  “We don’t look at records. It comes down to one game. It’s like the Super Bowl to us. This would truly make our season, if we go ahead and upset Southern University. I like the direction the university is moving despite our shortcoming.”

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The Bayou Classic Thanksgiving Parade is just one of the many events during the classic. On Friday, the universities’ bands and Greeks will compete for this year’ bragging rights at the Bayou Classic Battle of the Bands and Greek Step Show at 6 p.m. The big event, the Tigers and the Jaguars facing off in the annual football game, start at 1:30 p.m. and will be televised nationally on NBC. See for more information.

Media Contact:
Will Sutton



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