Hue Jackson’s last head coaching job came with the 2018 Cleveland Browns. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
PLAYERS & TEAM EARNINGS

Hue Jackson’s Next Chapter Has an HBCU Twist

The former Raiders and Browns head coach is reportedly due to accept the top job with the Grambling State Tigers.

Hue Jackson is back.

According to multiple reports, Grambling State University is expected to name Jackson as its next head football coach on Friday. The apparent decision comes after the school parted ways with Broderick Fobbs in November after eight seasons leading the Tigers.

HBCU Gameday reported Wednesday that the Grambling coaching search also included high-profile names like Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis and former Houston, Texas A&M, and Arizona head coach Kevin Sumlin.

Jackson, a former NFL head coach with the Oakland Raiders and Cleveland Browns, spent this past season serving as offensive coordinator with Tennessee State University under former Heisman Trophy winner and Tennessee Titan running back Eddie George.

When Jackson takes the reins at Grambling State, he’ll be tasked with re-establishing the dominance that the Tigers once boasted over the rest of the SWAC. Fobbs had winning seasons in his first four years at Grambling, coaching the Tigers to two Celebration Bowl appearances, winning in 2016 and losing in 2017. After that latter campaign, things took a turn for the worse — Fobbs finished 6-5 in back-to-back years before going 0-4 during the 2020 COVID-adjusted influenced season.

His 3-7 mark this past year was enough to earn him his walking papers.

Even before Fobbs or Jackson led the Tigers, Grambling has been an HBCU football powerhouse for decades. The school has four players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The late Eddie Robinson coached Grambling for a total of 56 years, and in his time Robinson only had eight losing seasons. Under Robinson, the Tigers won nine Black college national championships and 17 SWAC titles. Robinson was succeeded by Grambling alum Doug Williams, the first Black quarterback to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, as well as the first Black quarterback to start and win a Super Bowl and take game MVP honors.

In two separate coaching tenures at Grambling State, Williams had seven winning seasons in nine years. Fobbs followed in 2013 after Williams was fired. 

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Jackson is the latest high-profile name to step into a football head coaching position at an HBCU. The trio of former NFLers — Tyrone Wheatley, Deion Sanders, and Eddie George — have accepted positions at such institutions the last three years. Wheatley is at Bowie State University, Sanders is at Jackson State, and George made his coaching debut this past season at Tennessee State.

Each coach will look to add exposure to their HBCU. Sanders has gotten off to a hot start, winning the SWAC championship this year and being awarded the coach of the year. Jackson State beat Grambling earlier this year during the rescheduled 2020 football season that was delayed until the spring.

Now, there is a possibility the two schools could play next year with two former NFLers leading their squads out of the tunnel.

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