September 11, 2013

HBCU Veteran Named Interim Head Football Coach

Running backs coach, former NFL player prepares for Classic, remainder of season

George Ragsdale, Interim Head Football Coach
George Ragsdale, Interim Head Football Coach

GRAMBLING, LA – Grambling State University running backs coach George Ragsdale has assumed head football coaching duties, effective immediately.

Ragsdale becomes interim head coach as the Tigers head to the Missouri Classic in Kansas City with a 0-2 record. The G-Men finished the 2012 season with a record of 1-10. Head football coach Doug Williams was released from his position, effective immediately. The university has decided to move in another direction, buying out the remainder of his contract.

“We recognize Doug Williams’ many contributions to our football legacy,” said Pogue, “and we express our deep appreciation for his service to Grambling State University and we wish him well in the future.”

Ragsdale has coached in the SWAC and MEAC, including coaching at North Carolina A&T State University, Norfolk State University, Morris Brown College and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. He was a four-year letterman at A&T, his alma mater, and he still holds the school’s all-time rushing record and he helped the school reach its first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championship in 1975. Ragsdale played with the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Washington Redskins. He also played in the United States Football League (USFL) with the Oklahoma Outlaws. 

The university will have no further comment at this time.

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Media Contact:
Will Sutton



September 9, 2013

Bruno, Pogue: ULM-GSU Matchup is Good for Both, Should Continue

There’s no agreement, but the two Presidents want to make it work.

By Kimberly Monroe
Grambling State University Media Bureau

University of Louisiana at Monroe President Nick Bruno and Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue want to continue football matchup.
University of Louisiana at Monroe President Nick Bruno
and Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue
want to continue football matchup.

Grambling, LA – University of Louisiana at Monroe President Nick Bruno and Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue agree that their I-20 competition should continue.

ULM bested GSU by 48-10 in Saturday’s matchup at Malone Stadium, and both presidents said it’s more than just a game. “It’s important to bring both regions together, said Bruno. “It’s fun to see I-20 come together to enjoy the game, have fun and tailgate.”

An estimated 23,600 people attended the Saturday game.  When the schools played the first game in 2007, about 30,101 people filled the stadium. ULM won the 2007 game, too, but only by 28-14.

In 2011, the Warhawk- Tiger matchup produced the largest on-campus collegiate football crowd in north Louisiana history, according to school athletic officials.

Saturday’s game was the second of two in a two-year agreement. No additional games are scheduled between the two competitors, but the presidents, who are friends, intend to make it happen again.

“Everyone enjoys it,” said Pogue as the game came to a close. “They love the band, because after halftime majority of the crowd left.”

Pogue also said the game is more than about a win or lost; it’s more of an economic concern for the competition to continue.

“The foreseeable future anticipates further budget cuts,” added Pogue. “We are in a financial emergency. Athletics brings in the largest deficit, therefore we should drive a little over 30 miles because the income is real.”

Bruno agreed. “This is a great collegiate football experience for both teams,” he said. “Although both schools have different missions, we can have a lot of fun together.”

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September 5, 2013

Cheerleaders Bring Home National Awards, Recognition

Head coach says it’s what’s expected

Grambling State University Media Bureau

Grambling, LA- Grambling State University cheerleaders are a big deal. The squad is number four in the nation, they won a recent Spirit Award and they won a “gold bid” that helps pay travel expenses to a national competition.

The squad trained extra hard to compete in memory of a colleague, Robert Miller, who died in a car accident on June 28, in Minden, La. Miller contributed positive energy and lots of laughter his two years as a Grambling State University cheerleader.

“He really put our team together and made us stronger,” said Brianna Polley, one of the squad captains and a double major in mass communication and history.  “Coming back from that devastating news and winning a gold bid was just the icing on the cake for a great year, a year we’ve dedicated to our fallen teammate.”

The team competed this summer during the National Cheerleading Association in August in Oklahoma City. The cheerleaders returned with four awards, including the Spirit Award, which is voted upon every team at camp.

“This award shows the true essence of an efficient cheerleader, and we’ve won this award every time we go to camp, and that’s been since the 90s,” said Terry Lilly, the team’s head coach.

The team won first place in the game day routine and the Gold Bid, meaning the squad gets financial support to participate in the National Cheerleading Championship in April in Daytona Beach, Fla. The bid pays for hotel costs and half of the travel expenses to nationals, saving the squad and the university about $8,000.

One team member, Shayna Wilcots, won All- American recognition, one of the highest awards in cheerleading. Wilcots, 22, Kinesiology major and senior, from Shreveport, La., is one of the team captains. Miller was Wilcots’ stunt partner.

The squad prepared for camp partly with extra tough training during what they call “hell week.” The team practices three times a day, learning new cheers, game- day routines, practicing pyramids and fine-tuning routines. Hell week is held two weeks before school starts

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for people to bond, for them to get physically fit and prepared, and to give the freshman the opportunity to view the campus early and get acquainted with all of the buildings,” said Lilly, who is a Grambling State University alumnus. During Lilly’s college years he cheered for the GSU cheerleaders. “So beyond getting physically fit they get mentally fit which prepares them for the whole year,” he said.

The Grambling State University cheerleaders are seen at the football and basketball games and pep rallies, pumping up crowds, dancing to the band’s beats and doing stunts and flips. Their overall goal is to keep the Grambling spirit alive and to remain team oriented. The cheerleaders focus on pumping up the student body and leading the campus in school spirit, but Lilly says winning awards and being nationally ranked helps recruit students to the university.

“Cheerleading is a year-around sport,” said Polley, 20, of Houston. “Once we do football, we go straight to basketball, during basketball season we are shuffling ourselves for nationals. It’s a lot of cheerleaders but we have to divide those up to give people that’s doing nationals a break, and make sure our schooling is right, after nationals its try-out’s and everyone has to re- tryout.”

GSU Cheerlearers bring home award and recognition.

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Will Sutton



August 29, 2013

Football Broadcasts Return to KGRM

Saturday marks first broadcasts of Tiger football in 14 years

Grambling State University Media Bureau

GRAMBLING, LA. – After 14 years, Grambling State University’s football games to 91.5 KGRM-FM, the university’s radio station.

The first broadcast is Saturday as the Tigers face Alabama A&M at Eddie G. Robinson Stadium. Listeners can hear the entire football game, including the pregame and postgame shows. The pregame show starts thirty minutes before the game and the postgame show will begin immediately after the game.

Alumni, fans and other Grambling State University football supporters can tune in to 91.5, or by going online to, clicking on the KGRM-FM tab under “student life” and clicking on the option to listen to the station online.

“I really think that it’s a plus because it’s our own station,” said Aaron James, a 1974 graduate who is athletic director. “It has Grambling’s name and our fans will be able to listen to Grambling’s radio station and not another station.”

Doug Williams was the head football coach in 2000 when the team had a 10-2 season, and when he returned as head football coach in 2011 he was one of the people questioning why games were not being broadcast on his university’s radio station. “I thought it was crazy for games not to be broadcasted on KGRM, but I’m glad that the football games are back on the station.”

Rather than continue to wonder, Williams went right to the top, asking Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue. “Doug Williams found some time to go and talk to President Pogue about the games being back on KGRM and I also talked to him,” recalled Evans. “After much thought and consideration, Pogue agreed that our games should be back on our station.”

One Grambling alumna who remembers listening to KGRM-FM when she attended GSU in the 1980s is Belinda Dawson, 51, a native of Alexandria, La. “It was so entertaining,” said Dawson. “Everybody listened to KGRM and because of that the campus was involved and the students supported the football team along with other sports like basketball.”

Evans said she’s already welcomed sponsors and underwriters and she expects more as area businesses and individuals learn about the return of G-Men football to the campus radio station. She said interested parties can contact her at 318-274-6343 or

KGRM-FM is a 50,000 watt, non-commercial educational radio station licensed to Grambling State University with a dual purpose of a laboratory function for students in the Department of Mass Communication and service to the community.

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August 16, 2013

Interim AD James Becomes Permanent

ULS Board expected to approve Aaron James soon

GSU President Frank G. Pogue asked Aaron James to
become Athletics Director on a permanent basis.

Grambling, La. – Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue asked Aaron James to be interim athletic director for a second time since he’s been president. This time, however, he’s decided that James is his man.

“Aaron was a finalist when we looked at more than 80 candidates for the position, and he was a truly strong candidate,” said Pogue. “After asking Aaron to fill in just a short few weeks ago and after working with him and watching him work with others, it became obvious that our national search yielded a good batch of candidates, including our own Aaron James.”  “The AD job is a difficult and challenging one, but I have learned that Aaron can work cooperatively with anyone.”

“I’ve coached basketball at my alma mater. I’ve worked in athletics and development at my school,” said James, 60, who lives in Ruston, LA. “I’ve always wanted to be Grambling State University’s AD, so this is a dream come true.”

The appointment is pending approval by the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors The Board may consider the university’s request as early Tuesday of next week.

James said the biggest challenges for athletics include enhancing the university’s student-athlete academic performance in the classroom; bringing more recognition to lesser-known sports, especially women’s basketball and track and field and pursuing a more secure financial future with a student athletic fee.

He said he’s already working with Pogue, other administration officials and Student Government Association President Jordan Harvey and his team to help students understand the make-or-break issues tied to student passage of an athletic fee this academic year. He said failure to pass the fee could mean reducing the number of athletic programs, limiting the number of games played away from campus or even becoming a Division II or III in the NCAA.

“This is big stuff,” added James, a 2012 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame member and a member of the Grambling Legends Sports Hall of Fame. “I don’t think our faculty, staff, students and coaches really understand what’s at stake, and it’s my job to make sure that they do.”

James said he’s proud of the 119 student-athletes who earned GPAs of 3.0 or higher in the spring semester, and he wants that to increase. “They are students first and foremost,” he said.
“We want them to get a good education, graduate and perform well in their respective sports.”

James moved into the AD’s office on the first level of the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center a few weeks ago. Now that the job is becoming permanent, he’ll start gathering his things and settling in, putting his mementoes, plaques and other things where others can see them and where he can see some of the history that brought him to this job.

“It’s an unbelievable opportunity, and I feel so blessed,” said James, who lives in Ruston with his wife, Abigail. James is the father of two adult children, Brandon James of New Orleans, and Tiffiani James of Arlington TX.

An associate athletic director for marketing and promotions, he briefly served as the university’s interim development director with an office in the Institutional Advancement building.

James will lead Grambling State’s 15 sports programs: football, men’s basketball, baseball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s outdoor track and field; women’s basketball, bowling, men’s and women’s indoor track and field, women’s tennis, soccer, softball and volleyball.

James succeeds Percy “Chico” Caldwell, who was named AD at Grambling State University in February 2012. Caldwell resigned last month. James served interim AD from in June of 2011 until early 2012, when Caldwell was named AD.

“I’m from New Orleans, but I’m a Gramblinite and I’ll always be a Gramblinite,” said James. “I’m pleased to serve in whatever way I can; I’m just glad I can do my dream job.”

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