Grambling Legends applaud quiet contributor Melvin Lee

For Grambling’s ageless Eddie Robinson, Melvin Lee was a constant.

Over nearly five decades, Lee either played for Robinson or coached beside him. Yet he remains a shadowy figure in his old boss’ march to a still-standing Division I record of 408 career football victories.

Lee, unassuming and fiercely steadfast as an offensive assistant, was most comfortable outside of the spotlight. But his fingerprints are all over the Robinson era.

He was there for more than 300 of the College Hall of Famer’s wins, and every league title Robinson ever claimed — eventually earning such profound respect from Robinson that the two would collaborate on playcalling.

It’s fitting, then, that Lee has claimed a spot in the Grambling Legends Sports Hall of Fame, a collection that already includes a trio of those whom Lee credits with propelling him into a life around football.

“It started at the top, of course,” said Lee, who still lives on Martin Luther King Drive in Grambling. Former school president “R.W.E. Jones set the stage and then (longtime sports information director) Collie J. Nicholson gave us so much attention in news print. That helped Coach Robinson focus on being a consistent fundamentalist. They allowed us to learn and progress as the years went by.”

The 2010 Legends induction ceremonies will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday, July 17, at the Monroe Civic Center.
Admission is $60 per person, and $500 for a table of eight, with all proceeds going to the non-profit Legends group for distribution in support athletics at Grambling.

Tickets can be purchased at the Monroe Civic Center box office. Call 329-2837.

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