Departures continue from Grambling grid staff; baseball, softball teams travel

Grambling State quarterback Elijah Walker and the rest of the GSU offense are facing significant coaching changes before the 2021 fall football season begins for the Tigers. (Photo by T. SCOTT BOATRIGHT/LPJ)

Staff writer

The fallout from Grambling’s winless spring football season continued Thursday, when news broke of the dismissal of the Tigers’ offensive line coach and run game coordinator, Reggie Nelson.

The Alexandria native and former McNeese All-American and assistant coach was terminated a day after Saturday’s 49-7 Bayou Classic loss to Southern. He was part of head coach Broderick Fobbs’ initial Grambling staff, spending seven seasons on board, and was co-offensive coordinator with Fobbs in the 2018 (6-5) season.

GSU’s run game produced just 129 yards per contest in four losses this year, and underperformed in 2019 as well. The offense averaged only 26 points in its last two fall seasons, after the Tigers were roaring with the ball in the three previous years when Grambling was unbeaten in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

Nelson is the third full-time offensive coach to depart. Coaching veteran Mark Orlando called it after two games, saying his friend Fobbs and Grambling deserved a fresh start and a new offensive coordinator. Longtime staff member Kendrick Nord, the quarterbacks coach, received play calling duties for the Arkansas-Pine Bluff game but “removed himself from the program,” said Fobbs, after being told he wasn’t going to continue in that role by Fobbs on the day after his audition produced another ineffective offensive outing.

Ryan Walker, an offensive graduate assistant, was involved in the play calls for the Bayou Classic, where at least the Tigers didn’t suffer a turnover.

Receivers coach Quentin Burrell and running backs coach Dre Fusilier are the only fulltime offensive coaches still on board.

News of Nelson’s firing was quickly followed by a Twitter announcement that director of football operations and recruiting Michael Thompson was moving to St. Thomas – not the Virgin Islands, but a Division III football program in St. Paul, Minnesota.

“My time at Grambling State was special and I will forever cherish the memories, but I am excited for this new chapter,” Thompson wrote in his tweet.

BASEBALL: Anticipated winter weather cancelled the Tigers’ Tuesday trip to face No. 1 Arkansas. Expected stormy weather today altered the schedule for Grambling’s weekend series at Texas Southern.

The three-game set now starts at 2 p.m. Saturday, with another 2 p.m. meeting Sunday and the finale for 1 p.m. on Monday in Houston. TSU (10-25 overall) has a 9-9 conference record.

James Cooper’s G-Men (11-18, 8-4) have dropped their last four league games, including a three-game SWAC sweep at Alabama State, but still lead the SWAC Western Division and have won 11 of their last 18.

SOFTBALL: The Lady Tigers (7-13, 4-6) also have adjusted their schedule due to today’s forecast. They now play at Arkansas-Pine Bluff in a twinbill starting at 1 p.m. Sunday and a single game Monday at 1.

Grambling, which has lost three straight (two at home to Texas Southern, and at Louisiana Tech on Wednesday), is slated to host ULM in a Tuesday doubleheader.


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