2013 is a season that Grambling State University would like to forget. They went through three coaches, went 1-11 and made national news as players boycotted practice and a game because of poor conditions of their facilities and long, uncomfortable bus trips to two away games of at least 1,200 miles each.
It was daunting chore for Broderick Fobbs when he was hired to bring stability to a program that was 1-10 in 2012.
"We were dealing with a fractured situation when we first got to Grambling State University. It was just tough," Fobbs said Dec. 17 after his team defeated North Carolina Central in the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl. "Our kids were broken. They weren't very trusting of anyone. Who could blame them? They had had three coaches in one year. The look I got was a bunch of guys questioning - they didn't say this, but you you could see it on their faces - 'How long are you going to be here?'"
Fobbs accepted that challenge, restoring trust and pride in one of college football's most storied programs. Now three years after going 1-11, Fobbs has led his Grambling State team to an 11-1 record and have been crowned the 2016 FCS HBCU National Champions in the ADD'S HBCU SPORTS REPORT FCS HBCU Top Ten poll.
Only losing to FBS Pac-12 Arizona in a game they very well could have won, the Tigers rode a high-flying offense and a stiff defense and gashing running game they needed to defeat second-ranked North Carolina Central in the Celebration Bowl. The winner was poised to claim the FCS HBCU national championship in most national polls.
"It's a pleasure to be the black college national champions and finish the year undefeated," Fobbs said.
The Celebration Bowl wrapped up a wild FCS HBCU football season where some of the traditional powers struggled this season (Florida A&M, South Carolina State, Bethune-Cookman, Alcorn State) and others woke from deep doldrums to win some games (Savannah State)
1) Grambling (11-1, 9-0 SWAC)
2) North Carolina Central (9-3, 8-0 MEAC)
3) North Carolina A&T (9-3, 7-1 MEAC)
4) Southern (8-3, 8-1 SWAC)
5) Tennessee State (7-4, 4-3 OVC)
6) Prairie View A&M (7-4, 7-2 SWAC)
7) South Carolina State (5-6, 5-3 MEAC)
8) Alcorn State (5-6, 5-4 SWAC)
9) Hampton (5-6, 5-3 MEAC)
10) Bethune-Cookman (4-6, 4-4 MEAC)