Grambling legend Sammy White will not return as receivers coach

Sammy White, the former three-time SWAC champion receiver and 11th-year assistant coach at Grambling, has been fired.

“The only explanation I got,” White told me today, “was that they wanted to go in a different direction with the receivers.”

Coach Rod Broadway’s Tigers are coming off a disappointing 7-4 campaign. GSU failed to win the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s Western Division title for the first time in Broadway’s three-year tenure.

He did not confirm whether his receivers coach had been let go.

“We’re in the process of doing some things,” Broadway told me. “I’m not ready to comment right now. But we’re evaluating everybody — including myself. We’ve got to get our problems fixed.”

It’s been two seasons since an individual Grambling player could boast 50 catches. The team’s top receivers, Nick Lewis in 2008 and then Kiare Thompson in 2009, have posted the lowest total of yards since Corey Caesar’s 539 yards in 1997.

White said he had trouble transitioning with the remade staff after Broadway’s arrival.

“You just have a feeling like something is not right,” he said. ” I just didn’t fit in. Sometimes, I felt like an outsider.”

At least one current player threatened to quit over the veteran coach’s ouster, but White reportedly convinced him to remain with the squad.

A Richwood native, White won both football and basketball state titles in high school before twice being named all-conference (1973, ’75) as a wingback for Grambling coaching legend Eddie Robinson. His best season at GSU was his last, when White was named the conference’s co-offensive player of the year. He would eventually pull down 37 passes for 802 yards and 17 touchdowns from a young Doug Williams — who then made White one of his first hires when he succeeded Robinson as Grambling’s head coach in 1998.

After college, White went on to become an integral part of a Vikings team that reached the Super Bowl after the 1976 season, the 1977 NFC championship and then the divisional playoff round both a year later and in 1982. The former second-round draft pick earned rookie of the year honors in 1976, and three All-Pro selections over 11 seasons with the Vikings. He set team records for receiving yards, touchdowns and yards in a game for a rookie that stood until Randy Moss broke through in 1998.

White served as Grambling’s receivers coach from 1998-2003, and from 2007-09. He was offensive coordinator for Melvin Spears between 2004-06 after Williams left for an NFL job, and held together Grambling’s 2007 recruiting class as interim when Spears departed.

Over that span, Grambling won six Western Division titles and five SWAC championships, 2000-02, 2005 and 2008. White was inducted into the SWAC Hall of Fame in 2004.

He also helped shepherd in a period of offensive fireworks unseen in the storied history of Grambling football — shaping the record-smashing careers of Scotty Anderson, Tramon Douglas, Henry Tolbert and then Clyde Edwards. They’d set new school marks in every major receiving category, and Grambling would lead the Football Championship Subdivision in offense three times, 2002-03 and 2005.

“Nobody was better with those players,” Williams told me, as White was inducted into the SWAC hall in ’04. “He showed by example.”

Douglas eclipsed Jerry Rice’s single-season SWAC mark for receiving yards in 2003. Tolbert topped a school mark for scores in a single year by Eric Gant that had stood for 13 seasons in 2005. Edwards then passed Douglas in the Grambling record book for career receptions, set a new GSU record for career touchdowns, and overtook Anderson as the school’s all-time leader in receiving yards in 2007.

“To have a chance to play for someone who did those things, and for him to be so humble, was a great experience,” Tolbert told me. “It’s just pains me to see him go. Sammy White was much more than a coach; he was a father figure. And look at the product he’s put on the field.”

Today, White is not sure if he’ll return to the sidelines.

“The last three years have been stressful,” said White, who is mulling a return to school. “There have been long hours, and long days. It’s almost like a relief.”

As a player, White’s 102 points for the Tigers in 1975 wasn’t bested until Walter Dean scored 110 in 1991. As he entered the SWAC hall, only six players — including Pro Football Hall of Famer Charlie Joiner — had bested White’s senior-year average of 21.7 yards per reception. His 17 touchdowns in 1975 ranked third all time.

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31 comments

  1. Those receivers mentioned in the article had talent when they came to GSU. But the receivers we had for 2009 kept us stressed out all season, I know how Greg Dillon felt. So who do you blame?
    Mr. S. White!

  2. Those receivers mentioned in the article had talent when they came to GSU. But the receivers we had for 2009 kept us stressed out all season, I know how Greg Dillon felt. So who do you blame?
    Mr. S. White!

  3. This happens in the coaching profession…now it seems fans are gonna choose sides. Why? No need to bash either man…I simply thank Sammie for a job well done during his time there and move on. B'way is well within his right as head coach to staff his coaching assistants based on his evaluation and choices.

  4. Good job Sammie, But Broadway please evaluate your Offensive Coordinator. You do not run a reverse on a second and one when you have great field position. Dont single out Gramblinites on your staff, you only have one left. Please think about it before you fire him, remember Defense is your strong point.

  5. Coach White was a great player, coach and a even better person. All of the good receivers that he coached didn't come to GSU ready to go to the NFL (ask Scotty Anderson). I have personally seen him take high school running backs (Tramone Douglas, Henry Tolbert) and make them into record breaking receivers. He took receivers who weren’t blessed with great size or athletic ability (Levi Washington, Clyde Edwards) and made them good receivers. Coach White has been the most successful assistant coach since the Doug Williams era began. He has produced more All-SWAC, All-American, and players getting into pro camps than any coach during this time period. Coach White has forgotten more football than most of GSU's current coaches will ever know. With all that said he was an even better person. He was a father figure who always had a listening ear and sound advice. He had an open door policy at his home where any player could always come and get a hot meal on weekends and holidays. I think people take for granted how great of a player or a person he was but you quickly remember when you show up to the hotel and he signs more autographs and gets more recognition than all the players and coaches (Rod Broadway) combined. Then again some people do recognize greatness and are intimidated and envious when they are not the center of attention (Rod Broadway) and that may be why he isn't coaching anymore?

  6. RWEJones & Billy Bell please don't be so stupid!!!!Since the Broadway/Spady arrived every year our passing game has gone down, maybe it's poor recruiting job Trey Oliver doing by recruiting kids who can't catch. By the way some of Greg Dillion's passes could not hit the side of a barn. Thanks Sammy for being a Grambling Ambassabor,player and supporter.

  7. Yes, Broadway is well within his right to make this decision, but does he have the overall all picture in full view—if so, then he has to take a strong look at Mr. Spady…he has been a severe dissapointment. I srongly suggest that our offensive problems start and end with Mr. Spady….his "boneheaded" playcalling in the early stages of the bayou classic could have easily cost us the ballgame! Finally, I noticed all year that Dillon missed a lot of open receivers…even during the bayou classic he wasted some great routes by the wideouts…is Sammie to shoulder all the blame????

  8. This happens in the coaching profession…now it seems fans are gonna choose sides. Why? No need to bash either man…I simply thank Sammie for a job well done during his time there and move on. B’way is well within his right as head coach to staff his coaching assistants based on his evaluation and choices.

  9. when tolbert first came to grambling he was a running back and coach white turned him into an all-american receiver when edwards got to grambling he was a DB, coach white turned him into an all-american receiver so dont make it seem as if he couldnt coach. When douglas first got there he wasnt all that fast but coach white taught him how to get separation and get open…I think this firing was personal

  10. People wake up Broadway is trying to do away with all of Grambling History. When you list all Sammy accomplishments, all the great recievers he coached, not to note that he had the number one offensive in the SWAC two out of the three years, he was the coordinator. While, we see who's to blame with the upcoming season. After all this is the last of Spears, Sammy recruiting class. That he won with. Chris Anthony, Frank Warren, TJ McCord, Corey Williams, Revay Smith, Jessie Smith, N. Copeland, and etc. Now let's see what his classes will produce. I'm a GSU Grad. and if we never win again under Bradway. Then Good

  11. There is enough blame to pass around in regards to coaching style. However, I totally disagree that the talent of the recievers was not there. Sammie did not have to teach them how to catch, they knew that when they came to him. Every receiver on the team can catch a ball if it were passed to him. Take a true look at the stats the receivers were not given the chance to catch too many passes. While Broadway is looking for a reciever coach he needs to also look for a QB. The entire team could only work with what they had. Many blessings to Coach White may God continue to bless you abundantly

  12. "Billy Bell" you sound bout as stupid as your name. We have talented receivers but Dillon is too short & feet happy to see the field. Dumb-azz play calling is what stressed us out. Look at his pass attempts vs rushing. Spady is the one who needs to go then get us a 6'2" qb who can see the field

  13. Good job Sammie, But Broadway please evaluate your Offensive Coordinator. You do not run a reverse on a second and one when you have great field position. Dont single out Gramblinites on your staff, you only have one left. Please think about it before you fire him, remember Defense is your strong point.

  14. Coach White was a great player, coach and a even better person. All of the good receivers that he coached didn’t come to GSU ready to go to the NFL (ask Scotty Anderson). I have personally seen him take high school running backs (Tramone Douglas, Henry Tolbert) and make them into record breaking receivers. He took receivers who weren’t blessed with great size or athletic ability (Levi Washington, Clyde Edwards) and made them good receivers. Coach White has been the most successful assistant coach since the Doug Williams era began. He has produced more All-SWAC, All-American, and players getting into pro camps than any coach during this time period. Coach White has forgotten more football than most of GSU’s current coaches will ever know. With all that said he was an even better person. He was a father figure who always had a listening ear and sound advice. He had an open door policy at his home where any player could always come and get a hot meal on weekends and holidays. I think people take for granted how great of a player or a person he was but you quickly remember when you show up to the hotel and he signs more autographs and gets more recognition than all the players and coaches (Rod Broadway) combined. Then again some people do recognize greatness and are intimidated and envious when they are not the center of attention (Rod Broadway) and that may be why he isn’t coaching anymore?

  15. RWEJones & Billy Bell please don’t be so stupid!!!!Since the Broadway/Spady arrived every year our passing game has gone down, maybe it’s poor recruiting job Trey Oliver doing by recruiting kids who can’t catch. By the way some of Greg Dillion’s passes could not hit the side of a barn. Thanks Sammy for being a Grambling Ambassabor,player and supporter.

  16. Yes, Broadway is well within his right to make this decision, but does he have the overall all picture in full view—if so, then he has to take a strong look at Mr. Spady…he has been a severe dissapointment. I srongly suggest that our offensive problems start and end with Mr. Spady….his “boneheaded” playcalling in the early stages of the bayou classic could have easily cost us the ballgame! Finally, I noticed all year that Dillon missed a lot of open receivers…even during the bayou classic he wasted some great routes by the wideouts…is Sammie to shoulder all the blame????

  17. when tolbert first came to grambling he was a running back and coach white turned him into an all-american receiver when edwards got to grambling he was a DB, coach white turned him into an all-american receiver so dont make it seem as if he couldnt coach. When douglas first got there he wasnt all that fast but coach white taught him how to get separation and get open…I think this firing was personal

  18. People wake up Broadway is trying to do away with all of Grambling History. When you list all Sammy accomplishments, all the great recievers he coached, not to note that he had the number one offensive in the SWAC two out of the three years, he was the coordinator. While, we see who’s to blame with the upcoming season. After all this is the last of Spears, Sammy recruiting class. That he won with. Chris Anthony, Frank Warren, TJ McCord, Corey Williams, Revay Smith, Jessie Smith, N. Copeland, and etc. Now let’s see what his classes will produce. I’m a GSU Grad. and if we never win again under Bradway. Then Good

  19. There is enough blame to pass around in regards to coaching style. However, I totally disagree that the talent of the recievers was not there. Sammie did not have to teach them how to catch, they knew that when they came to him. Every receiver on the team can catch a ball if it were passed to him. Take a true look at the stats the receivers were not given the chance to catch too many passes. While Broadway is looking for a reciever coach he needs to also look for a QB. The entire team could only work with what they had. Many blessings to Coach White may God continue to bless you abundantly

  20. “Billy Bell” you sound bout as stupid as your name. We have talented receivers but Dillon is too short & feet happy to see the field. Dumb-azz play calling is what stressed us out. Look at his pass attempts vs rushing. Spady is the one who needs to go then get us a 6’2″ qb who can see the field

  21. I have been around and with the GSU program for more than 30 years.The first two posts to this topic were sad to read. Neg. comments and personal attacks are the way True GSU folks do things.Coach Sammie White will go down in history as one of the most admired and respected coaches in the history of Grambling Glory. I attended about 8 games this year. I saw flashes of greatness from several players. I asked Sammie after the third ball game why were they changing receivers after every off. possession? He told me "that's not my call,it's the OC's".It's hard to compare the off. now to the off. of four years ago. It's like comparing apples to blackberries.Greg Dillon is agood QB. He not a pocket passer. It appears that he was told who to throw the ball to on each pass. The O-line is great on run blocking- Pass protection was not a strong suit.I am going out on a limb to state that GSU's recs. dropped fewer passes that their counterparts at other SWAC schools.I think four -five balls is the most I saw in any one game.I know that several teams dropped 8-10 passes vs GSU,i.e. AL A&M,JSU,MVSU,Al St,et.al. GSU has alot of young recs. Most were not red shirted. One sr. started last year and none this year. You won't have recs with big numbers when you run more than you pass. Coach Broadway is a Def.-minded coach. They believe in running not passing. These recs need to be allowed to develop a relationship with the QB- this can't be done playing 10 recs in one ball game with 20 pass attempts. If you are throwing the ball 60 times a game you need to play 10 recs.If you missed the game on TV, get a copy of the tape. You will here some unbiased comments on GSU football from commentators who watched about five games tapes on GSU for the broadcast. God bless Coach White and God bless the GSU football team-for some -this is the first time a coach of their's has been let go.

  22. I have been around and with the GSU program for more than 30 years.The first two posts to this topic were sad to read. Neg. comments and personal attacks are the way True GSU folks do things.Coach Sammie White will go down in history as one of the most admired and respected coaches in the history of Grambling Glory. I attended about 8 games this year. I saw flashes of greatness from several players. I asked Sammie after the third ball game why were they changing receivers after every off. possession? He told me “that’s not my call,it’s the OC’s”.It’s hard to compare the off. now to the off. of four years ago. It’s like comparing apples to blackberries.Greg Dillon is agood QB. He not a pocket passer. It appears that he was told who to throw the ball to on each pass. The O-line is great on run blocking- Pass protection was not a strong suit.I am going out on a limb to state that GSU’s recs. dropped fewer passes that their counterparts at other SWAC schools.I think four -five balls is the most I saw in any one game.I know that several teams dropped 8-10 passes vs GSU,i.e. AL A&M,JSU,MVSU,Al St,et.al. GSU has alot of young recs. Most were not red shirted. One sr. started last year and none this year. You won’t have recs with big numbers when you run more than you pass. Coach Broadway is a Def.-minded coach. They believe in running not passing. These recs need to be allowed to develop a relationship with the QB- this can’t be done playing 10 recs in one ball game with 20 pass attempts. If you are throwing the ball 60 times a game you need to play 10 recs.If you missed the game on TV, get a copy of the tape. You will here some unbiased comments on GSU football from commentators who watched about five games tapes on GSU for the broadcast. God bless Coach White and God bless the GSU football team-for some -this is the first time a coach of their’s has been let go.

  23. Rod broadway need to fire James Spady. We need a new Offensive coordinator who can teach execution and call plays. The play calling is horrible. I agree with al, how can you develop a rec. when you throw the ball 20 times a game. Greg Dillion is not a pocket qb, what wrong with the kid from rayville. Greg Dillion is not accurate, maybe switch him to rec.

  24. Rod broadway need to fire James Spady. We need a new Offensive coordinator who can teach execution and call plays. The play calling is horrible. I agree with al, how can you develop a rec. when you throw the ball 20 times a game. Greg Dillion is not a pocket qb, what wrong with the kid from rayville. Greg Dillion is not accurate, maybe switch him to rec.

  25. I am sad that Sammie White was let go. This is the nature of the business. However, it is hard for me to read a GSU grad saying if we do not win another game under Broadway that's good. We need to understand it is not about Rod Broadway, it's about GSU. I wish GSU the best of luck in 2010.

  26. I am sad that Sammie White was let go. This is the nature of the business. However, it is hard for me to read a GSU grad saying if we do not win another game under Broadway that’s good. We need to understand it is not about Rod Broadway, it’s about GSU. I wish GSU the best of luck in 2010.

  27. It's sad to see Sammie released from his school where he broke records and was inducted into the SWAC Hall of Fame. It's a shame that Broadway doesn't realize that we need a coach like Sammie who knows how to run routes and most importantly, catch the football. Sure Broadway wants to establish a solid running game and that's great. But, let's have a balanced attack and make our receivers a serious threat and not just a 3rd down player. Bad decision by Broadway!!!!! Let's see who we get to replace a great like Sammie White.

  28. It’s sad to see Sammie released from his school where he broke records and was inducted into the SWAC Hall of Fame. It’s a shame that Broadway doesn’t realize that we need a coach like Sammie who knows how to run routes and most importantly, catch the football. Sure Broadway wants to establish a solid running game and that’s great. But, let’s have a balanced attack and make our receivers a serious threat and not just a 3rd down player. Bad decision by Broadway!!!!! Let’s see who we get to replace a great like Sammie White.

  29. Pingback: Grambling Fires Sammy White as Receivers Coach | HBCU Digest


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