Grambling State to retire jerseys of RWE “Prez” Jones and Wilbert Ellis

Courtesy of GSU Athletics and University Communications

Grambling State will honor Grambling Legends and former baseball coaches Ralph Waldo Emerson Jones and Wilbert Ellis with multiple events this weekend as the Tigers open Southwestern Athletic Conference play with a three-game home series against Southern University. 

Jones, a member of the NAIA Hall of Fame, founded the Grambling baseball team, then led the Tigers to the national NAIA baseball tournament in 1961, ’63, ’64 and ’67 — earning runner-up honors in 1963 and ’64. Jones won seven conference titles, coached 11 All-Americans, and was named the 1967 NAIA Coach of the Year, posting a 816-218 career coaching record in the process.  But he was much more than a skipper. Known affectionately even today as “Prez,” Jones took over as president at Grambling in 1936 when the school was a segregated teachers college. By the time he retired in 1977, he had added four colleges to elevate the school to university status. Jones also composed the school’s alma mater, and was the driving force behind creating the Tiger Marching Band. He also hired Eddie G. Robinson as football coach in 1941.

After playing for and then serving as an assistant coach under Jones for 17 years, Ellis, who was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Hall of Fame for his accomplishments both on and off the diamond, took over as head baseball coach at GSU in 1977. Ellis led GSU to three SWAC Championships and also guided the Tigers to three NCAA Tournament appearances en route to a 740–462–1 career record. Ellis has worn several hats over the course of his career. While at Grambling State University, Ellis served as head baseball coach along with a stint as athletic director and assistant AD. Ellis is also active during the NCAA Baseball Championships, having served as tournament director for both the Regional and Super Regional tournaments and he also hosts a youth clinic annually in Omaha, Nebraska, during the College Baseball World Series.

Friday’s ceremony schedule is as follows:
5:30 p.m. | Jersey Presentations

Wilbert Ellis Field

6 p.m. | First Pitch | Coach Wilbert Ellis
Wilbert Ellis Field 

Saturday’s schedule is as follows:
1 p.m. | Pre-Game Tailgate
Wilbert Ellis Field Entrance

2:30 p.m. | Jersey/Signage Unveilings
Wilbert Ellis Field

3 p.m. | First Pitch
Ernest Jones, grandson of RWE “Prez” Jones
Wilbert Ellis Field

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