Longtime Grambling coach battling Alzheimer's

Posted: July 22, 2004

Eddie Robinson, college football's winningest coach, has Alzheimer's, his wife said.

"He's pretty bad," Doris Robinson said yesterday. "He gets a little bit worse every day. He comes to the table for breakfast, but after that he wants to go right to bed."

During his 57 years at Grambling, a career which spanned 11 presidents, several wars and the civil-rights movement, Robinson compiled a record of 408-165-15.

His teams had only nine losing seasons and won 16 conference titles and nine national black college championships.

Robinson, 85, started showing signs of the disease soon after his retirement from Grambling after the 1997 season, his wife said. The couple went to hospitals in New Orleans, Dallas and Houston trying to find help, she said.

"Eddie Junior and his wife, the four of us would just get in the car and go anywhere trying to get something done," she said. "I don't guess Alzheimer's has done him any worse than it's done anybody else. We're trying to live with it.

"If I let myself, I could cry. But I don't have time to do that. I never thought I would be the strong one, but I have to be now."

The Robinsons could go out to lunch as recently as 2 months ago, Doris Robinson said. Eddie Robinson can no longer do that.

Golf

* Laura Davies shot an 8-under 64 and led Annika Sorenstam and two others by two strokes after the opening round of the Evian (France) Masters.

* Tom Watson will try to defend his Senior British Open, beginning today in Portrush, Northern Ireland, despite injuries to his right shoulder and neck that forced him to pull out of the Senior Players and last week's British Open.

Hockey

* The NHL and the players' association had their longest negotiating session in 9 months, and the league presented six possible concepts for a new economic system. Little progress was made on a new deal, but the representatives met for 4 hours in the league's Manhattan office to try to come up with a plan that would prevent a lockout next season. It was the fourth meeting since negotiations began last October.

* The Boston Bruins re-signed defenseman Hal Gill to a 1-year contract, avoiding arbitration with the 7-year NHL veteran.

Sport Stops

* Laila Ali will defend her WIBA heavyweight title on the undercard of Mike Tyson's bout July 31 against Danny Williams in Louisville, Ky. Muhammad Ali's daughter is 17-0.

* Serena Williams defeated Eleni Danilidou, 6-1, 7-6 (3), at the JPMorgan Chase Open in Carson, Calif., in her first match since losing the Wimbledon final to Maria Sharapova. *

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