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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Media Contact:
Will Sutton



GSU Football Media Day Set for Saturday

Grambling, La - The Grambling State University football team will hold Media and Fan day Saturday.  The tigers will start the day with a scrimmage at 9:30 a.m. Players and coaches will then speak with the media.

Fans can pick up schedule cards, purchase season tickets and get information about the upcoming season.  The regular season begins for the G-Men on August 31 when they take on Alabama A&M University at Robinson Stadium.  Kick off for the Tigers and the Bulldogs is 6 p.m.  

The 2013 season will include the Tigers playing in four Classics, including the Missouri Classic in Kansas City, the Circle City Classic in Indianapolis, the Southwest Airlines State Fair Classic in Dallas and the Bayou Classic in New Orleans.  Tickets for all four home games and all classics are on sale at the GSU athletic ticket office inside the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center.  

For more information, call 318-274-2625.

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Media Contact:
Will Sutton










May 7, 2013

Shreveport Senior Receives Dance Scholarship

Byrd High School’s Angela Mitchell plans to attend Grambling State University

GRAMBLING, LA – A Shreveport high school senior has received a $2,000 scholarship from the Helen Horton Education and Performing Arts Scholarship.

 The award was announced during the Dance His High Praise VI performance at The Strand in Shreveport on Saturday (April 27, 2013). Mitchell, who attends Byrd High School, said she plans to attend Grambling State University, where she wants to major in nursing and minor in dance.

The elegant event was “A Tribute to Dianne Maroney-Grigsby,” the director of Grambling State University’s Orchesis Dance Company. Grigsby is a former Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble dancer and she toured with the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre in Africa, Asia and Europe. She succeeded Virgie Broussard Pradia as the company’s third artistic director. A native of Norfolk, Va., Maroney-Grigsby won the prestigious Silver Leo Award for her choreography at the 1994 Jazz Dance World Congress and she was recognized in 1995 with a living legend award by the Nena Wideman Foundation of Shreveport.
Maroney-Grigsby had  a dance performance, "August Ascending," selected for the regional Dance America’s National Festival, Montreal, Quebec in 2012.

 “It was wonderful to see Ms. Mitchell accept the scholarship recognition during such an enjoyable program,” said Connie Walton, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Grambling State University. “Of course, it was wonderful to hear that she plans to join us at GSU. We look forward to welcoming her and working with her as she grows professionally as a nursing student. We can’t wait to see her dance at our institution.”

Orchesis is a highly competitive dance company, focused on training dancers aesthetically with high artistic standards and with a strong community awareness through entertainment repertoires. Grambling State University students audition to join the company, and they compete regularly to perform in specific performances during the football season and for other events.

Horton graduated from Grambling College in 1959. She is credited with organizing the first Dance His High Praise program, now coordinated by Vincent Williams, her son.

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Media Contact:
Will Sutton



March 18, 2013

GSU Football Heads to Circle City Classic

For the first time since 2000, the Fighting Tigers return to Indianapolis for one of the nation’s best and biggest HBCU football classics

GRAMBLING, LA – Grambling State University Tiger football fans, friends and supporters will head to the Hoosier state for a clash between the G-Men and the Alcorn State University Braves on October 12th in the Circle City Classic at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

“We are thrilled to return to this awesome venue for such a historic occasion,” said Percy Caldwell, athletic director at Grambling State University. “Grambling is excited about being the book-end football team, playing in the first and the 30th Circle City Classic® games.” The fall appearance will make Grambling State University the only HBCU to play in this special classic in four decades, 1984, 1990, 2000 and 2013. “That’s really special,” added Caldwell.

The Tigers participated in the first Circle City Classic in 1984, when then-head coach Eddie G. Robinson took his Grambling Tigers into battle against conference foe Mississippi Valley State University.

Tigers head football coach Doug Williams, was the first, and only, black quarterback to take an NFL team to a Super Bowl victory when he led the Washington Redskins to victory 25 years ago this year. “As a longtime HBCU football fan and certainly as a Grambling State University football player and alum, I know what it means to participate in a game such as the Circle City Classic,” said Williams. “Since we haven’t been to Indy in more than a decade, some of our fans may not realize how big a deal this is. It is huge.”

“We are happy that our university will be returning to the place where Grambling State University was an important part of such an influential and important football game,” said Frank G. Pogue, president of Grambling State University. “We know how far and wide our university’s reputation stretches, and we’re looking forward to paying respect to our strong football heritage as we tell everyone how we’re enhancing academics on campus.” He said the institution sees several great opportunities to tell the Grambling State University story at some of the Classic’s traditional week of events, including a Miss Circle City Classic coronation; a midweek prayer and praise worship service; a fan fest with celebrities, food and music and the 34th Annual Indianapolis Black Alumni Council HBCU College Fair.

Tickets will officially go on sale on April 1. However, pre-sale tickets are available for the 30th Anniversary of Circle City Classic® by calling the Indiana Black Expo (IBE) box office at 317-925-2702 or by completing the pre-sale ticket order form and faxing it to the IBE box office at 317-925-4734. An official press conference to include university representatives will take place in Indianapolis at a later date. For more information, go to

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Santoria Black
Will Sutton



February 7, 2013

ULS President, Dr. Woodley, Meets with GSU Student Leaders

Grambling State University Media Bureau

Grambling, LADr. Woodley meeting with GSU Students.University of Louisiana System President Sandra Woodley met with five SGA leaders on Tuesday because she wants to understand student concerns – and they spoke up on behalf of Grambling State University students.

Woodley asked to meet with student leaders, and they met in President Frank G. Pogue’s conference room for close to an hour. SGA President Jonathan Allen and others told Woodley how much they like Grambling and how they have enjoyed their time at what would soon be their alma mater since all are graduating seniors. They talked about their favorite GSU traditions, including going to football games and swaying with the World Famed Tiger Marching Band. They also expressed concerns about some discourteous faculty and staff, university communication challenges and disconnects when one office says one thing and another says something different.

Allen said though neither he nor Pogue think students should have to pay for an adequate library, the student leadership team wants to show how important this is to students by supporting a bill for a student fee of $150 per semester. He acknowledged that the student body is split about the fee proposal.

If all goes according to plan, university students will vote whether to add a fee specifically for a new library. That would happen only after student leaders sign a bill and after the ULS Board considers the library bill and other bills later this month.

“When we present these ideas we have someone who understands what this means to us,” said Demi Spencer, 21, a biology major from Alaska who serves as the SGA vice president. “The fact that they know our voice …someone will be able to vouch for our small university.”

When asked whether the library approach was a good idea, Woodley deferred, saying she doesn’t know enough about the issue and would review it. She applauded the student leaders for taking on such a serious issue.

Corban Bell, 22, SGA chief of staff, felt Woodley “seemed like an open and active listener” who “was actively asking a lot of questions and then taking notes, making eye contact, and responding to what we were saying.”

 “She didn’t really come in there with an agenda,” added the senior accounting and economics major from Haywood, Calif.

During her first month on the job in Baton Rouge, Woodley is spending a full day at each of the nine ULS universities, including the University of Louisiana at Monroe, Louisiana Tech University and Grambling State University. She’s had nearly the same schedule on each campus, spending time with the president, vice presidents and deans, faculty-staff senate representatives and students.

Woodley earned her undergraduate degree as the young mother of two small children after being married at 18.  She went to school while working, taking 10 years to complete her first degree. The Alabama native looked beyond those financial and other challenges, which included a divorce and becoming a single parent because she was determined to be successful and provide a good life for her kids.

Her non-traditional background “gives her a different perspective,” said Baton Rouge native Jodi Mauroni, associate vice president for education policy and initiatives with the UL system. Mauroni and Jackie Tisdell, the ULS assistant vice president for communications have been touring the campuses with Woodley. Mauroni added,  “everybody is looking forward to working with her.”

“I really want to understand what the university is proud of and I want to understand the challenges that the universities do have,” said Woodley, “particularly, over the past few years where there’s been tough financial times.”

Woodley oversees nine universities in the UL system, which includes 92,000 students with a total budget of $762 million annually. Other than Grambling State University, La. Tech and ULM, the UL system includes McNeese State University, Nicholls State University, Northwestern State University, Southeastern State University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the University of New Orleans.

Dr. Woodley meeting with GSU Faculty.

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Media Contact:
Will Sutton



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