Grambling remembers fallen hero, national champion and football coach Ernest Sterling, Sr.

Grambling remembers fallen hero, national champion and football coach Ernest Sterling, Sr.
Grambling remembers fallen hero, national champion and football coach Ernest Sterling, Sr.(Grambling Athletics)
Published: Mar. 31, 2021 at 9:10 PM CDT
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GRAMBLING, La. | Grambling State University mourns the passing of the former legend Ernest Sterling, Sr. The former Grambling Tiger was originally recruited to play basketball by legendary Grambling basketball coach Fredrick C. Hobdy, but made a name on the gridiron with another legendary Grambling coach, Coach Eddie Robinson. During his time at the G, his team won several titles, including Southwestern Athletic Conference championships as well as a National Championship. He later became a coach with the Grambling Tigers football team and was successful throughout his career.

“This is a tremendous loss,” GSU Director of Athletics David Ponton said. “Coach Sterling was one of the first individuals when I came to Grambling who kind of took me under his wing. I was kind of like his little ‘mentee’ — just like a son. He showed me around and showed me who to see. Basically, he taught me the Grambling way. So I will tell anyone who would listen that Coach Sterling is a large, large part of any success I’ve had at Grambling. He’s a big part of the reason I am who I am here at Grambling State University. It’s tough.”

GSU head football coach Broderick Fobbs also reflects on his thoughts on the loss of Sterling, Sr.

“Coach Sterling was a giant,” said Coach Fobbs. “He was a great, gentle and tough giant in so many ways. I’m thinking about another of my former teammates, his son, and send my condolences to Coach Sterling’s family.”

About Ernest Sterling, Sr.

This Baton Rouge, Louisiana native played varsity basketball and football in high school. His teams made it to the semi-final playoffs during his last three years of high school. Sterling received a 1-A State Championship award in both sports, and as a result, was recruited by several HBCUs. Eventually, he was recruited by Coach Fred Hobdy to play basketball at Grambling State University.

While playing basketball, Coach Robinson told him that he could go a long way in football. He left basketball and switched to Football. During his tenure on the football team, Grambling won two SWAC Championships and one National Championship. During his senior year, Ernest was named Tri-Captain of the team.

Sterling played professional football with the Dallas Cowboys before becoming a Grambling State University as a defensive line coach. He coached several All-American linemen during his coaching tenure. He had three players to be drafted by the NFL in the first round. In the second and third rounds, he had four players to be drafted. He had other players that were drafted in later rounds. Sterling’s coaching career was very rewarding and one of the best highlights of his life. Most important of all was to see student-athletes that he coached walk across the stage to receive their degrees upon graduating from Grambling State University.

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