By Sarah-Renee Garner
GSU Media Bureau
After an outstanding fall 2016 football season, the Grambling State University championship football team started wearing big rings proving that they are the 2016 HBCU National Champions.
“It’s a great feeling to win both championships, the SWAC championship, and the national championship. To finally get the ring is just a great feeling to have,” said Quintin Guice, 18, a wide receiver and sophomore engineering technology major from Monroe, Louisiana.
“This ring symbolizes that the old Grambling is back,” said star running back Martez Carter, 23, a senior criminal justice major from Monroe, Louisiana. “To be a part of the era that restored it means a lot to me. I can’t really describe the excitement that we have to finally receive our rings.”
GSU President Rick Gallot happily addressed a room of excited players, coaches and others. “This is the day to celebrate you,” said Gallot. “We have been anticipating this day for quite some time.” The G-Men ring distribution happened at the Black and Room in the Favrot Student Union Building Wednesday (May 24).
Head football coach Broderick Fobbs beamed with pride as he called the names of the players, coaches, support staff and others who made the championship possible. One by one, position by position, each went up to be recognized and to receive their rings.
“If you ask anyone, I really love everyone I work with. I am passionate about my staff and about this team,” said Fobbs, who became emotional as he was thanking them, especially Rev. Lance Wright, the team’s chaplain, an important member of team. Fobbs said one of the reasons the football program has been successful is because they give young men something they want: God and love.
“A lot of people may think love is weak, but I believe love is strong,” he said. “It will tell you ‘no’ when it’s appropriate, and it will tell you ‘yes,’ too.”
Athletics Director Paul Bryant celebrated with the players, saying he is joyful about their championship rings and their championship performance in classes. “I am so proud of the accomplishments of the G-Men on and off the field. They represent what a championship program is supposed to look like in athletics, and it starts at the top with the coaching staff,” said Bryant.
With the winning of a championship, the G-Men have gained support from all over the nation, even from people that might not be expected. Calvin Braxton, an alumnus of Louisiana State University and a former board member of Southern University System Board of Supervisors surprised nearly everyone when he donated $30,000 to help cover the cost of the rings.
“When I called Rick and asked him how much it cost, he said $30,000,” said Braxton. “So I said I would donate $3,000. Well this morning, I messed up and wrote a check for $30,000. Congratulations Tigers,” he said as the crowd roared, giving him a standing ovation.
Gallot put the moment in context.
“God will chase you down with blessings, and will surround you with people who want to support you,” said Gallot regarding the donation. Gallot and Braxton have been friends for many years.
Obadiah Simmons, who was interim athletics director as the football team knocked out opponent after opponent on their way to the championship, received a standing ovation from the football players as Bryant thanked him for all he did to make the team successful, and the championship possible.