Last Modified: Wednesday, December 04, 2013 7:23 PM
Broderick Fobbs is going back home.
Grambling-born and Grambling State-educated, the McNeese State tight ends coach was named the Tigers’ next head coach on Wednesday.
Fobbs graduated from Grambling in 1997. He was a senior running back on legendary coach Eddie Robinson’s next-to-last team. His father, Lee, also played for Robinson.
“Standing on the shoulders of such great men as Eddie Robinson and all the other great players that have played at that institution, it’s really an honor to be the guy that’s named as the football coach at Grambling State University,” Fobbs said.
“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,” Grambling President Frank Pogue said in a university news release. “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.”
The 39-year-old Fobbs has been entrusted with the task of restoring Grambling’s legacy and mending fences between the administration, athletes and alumni after a chaotic 1-11 season — worst in school history — under three coaches that tarnished the university’s image. The season culminated with a 40-17 loss to Southern University in the Bayou Classic last Saturday in New Orleans.
One of the losses was an Oct. 19 forfeit to Jackson State after players protested the firing of coach Doug Williams, being forced to travel by bus to games in Indianapolis and Kansas City and the lack of modern facilities.
Grambling fired Williams after an 0-2 start, on the heels of a 1-10 season, and turned to interim coaches George Ragsdale (0-5) and Dennis “Dirt” Winston (1-4).
“I’m a man of great faith,” Fobbs said, “and I believe when an opportunity is presented to turn things around, I’m a firm believer things will work out in the best interest of myself and my program at Grambling.”
Fobbs said his first task will be to meet with the players.
“That’s the first thing that needs to be done,” Fobbs said. “Our players at Grambling State have been through a lot. The coaches have as well, as has (the Grambling) family and alumni. It’s important to start the building process relationship-wise with those young people and build a strong bond. Because we have to be a family.”
Fobbs will stay with McNeese until after Saturday’s Football Championship Subdivision home playoff game against Jacksonville State (10-3). Should the Cowboys (10-2) advance, head coach Matt Viator said Fobbs’ duties will be delegated.
“It’s been a challenge doing both at this particular time. But it’s a challenge I’ve always dreamed of,” Fobbs said. “I believe this opportunity is a chance to do things great … it’s kind of bittersweet leaving McNeese and these young people, but it’s not time to smile and be joyous all the time. It’s a time to roll up your sleeves and get to work.”
Fobbs is the first protégé of Viator’s to take over a program full-time.
“We’re excited for Coach Fobbs, and we’re excited for Grambling. It’s a great hire,” Viator said. “Grambling certainly has its place in Louisiana football and college football history. I look forward to seeing Coach Fobbs get it back where they want it.”
Fobbs said he has received tremendous support from McNeese’s players and coaching staff, receiving an ovation when Viator announced the move to the team on Monday night.
Viator said he only had one piece of advice to impart.
“I advised him to put together the right staff. You have to have the right guys around you,” Viator said. “Guys who believe what you believe and are there for the long haul. You have to do it in a hurry, but you have to get it right.”
This is Fobbs’ first head coaching opportunity.
He has been an assistant at McNeese since 2007, minus a one-year stint at Southern Mississippi last season. Prior to that he was an assistant at Northwestern State for three years, and worked as a graduate assistant at Louisiana-Lafayette.