Hue Jackson sat on a stage inside Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center wearing a black suit, black shirt accompanied with a gold tie taking it all in.
Jackson, who had worked as a college and NFL coach in various capacities for more than two decades, was introduced on Friday as the 14th head coach in Grambling State football history.
“I am honored to be part of the Grambling family as the 14th head coach of the Grambling State Tigers football team,” he said, reading from prepared remarks. “I’m also excited to add a new chapter to this history and great institution.”
This past season, Jackson was the offensive coordinator at Tennessee State under first-year head coach Eddie George.
Under Jackson, the TSU offense ranked No. 5 in scoring, No. 5 in total offense, and No. 2 in passing offense in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Jackson is replacing Broderick Fobbs, who was fired by Grambling in November after eight seasons at the helm.
Prior to his brief stint at Tennessee State, he had been out of coaching since he was fired in 2018 after three seasons with the Cleveland Browns.
Jackson’s prior experience includes acting as an assistant with the Cincinnati Bengals, Atlanta Falcons, Washington Redskins, and Baltimore Ravens before being named head coach of the then-Oakland Raiders in 2011. Jackson was named NFL Assistant Coach of the Year in 2015.
Before entering the NFL, Jackson held positions at USC, California, and Arizona State.
He will be tasked with trying to turn around a program that hasn’t won the SWAC West Division title or a conference championship since 2017.
The team most recently — in the spring and fall seasons — posted a 4-11 record.
“The first thing I want to bring to Grambling is a winning environment and a winning football team,” said Jackson. “Coach (Eddie) Robinson and what that family has done here … if I could just be a little bit of what he did here at Grambling — we’re going to try to scratch some victories as fast as we can.”
When asked whether being associated with a litany of former and current NFL players would help give him credibility among recruits, Jackson said, “I know those guys will do anything they can within the rules to help Grambling get to where it needs to be.”
His message to recruits is simple.
“Come to Grambling,” he said. “Why not Grambling State University? “This is going to be the place to be. I guarantee you that.”
Jackson is the latest in what has become a recent trend of HBCUs hiring former NFL players and coaches over the last several years. The list of current coaches includes Rod Milstead (Delaware State); Tyrone Wheatley (Morgan State); Deion Sanders (Jackson State); Eddie Robinson Jr. (Alabama State) and Eddie George (Tennessee State).
“Why not HBCUs? Why not come here and have an opportunity to play some of the best football that I think is still being played anywhere,” said Jackson. “I know everybody likes to talk about the Power 5, but there is nothing like HBCU football.”