In the late 1980s, Eric Washington gave his all as a member of the football team as well as working toward graduation as an education major at Grambling State University.
These days Washington is giving back to the sport of football as a 16-year NFL coaching veteran currently serving as Senior Defensive Assistant/Defensive Line Coach for the Buffalo Bills.
Washington is also giving back to GSU, as shown by his recent $30,000 donation to the university’s GAP Scholarship Fund.
GAP scholarships are established through foundation funding and the generosity of donors and are designed to help students in their final semester who have exhausted all student loan and financial aid options, and essentially help students fill the gap needed to graduate.
A native of Shreveport and graduate of Northwood High School, Washington attended Morehouse College, where he was a member of the football team, as a freshman before transferring to GSU.
“My connection to Grambling came through many of my family members who are alumni and avid supporters,” Washington said. “I was also aware of the founding premise of Grambling being a place dedicated to the mission of training and informing future educators.
“Aside from my parents, John and Patsy Washington, there was no greater professional role model than Eddie Robinson. Coach Rob’s passion for teaching, his insistence on striving for excellence, and demand for personal investment are the templates from which I’ve sought to establish my identity as a professional football coach.”
Washington said that Grambling State’s impact on his development is a primary factor behind his successful career as a football coach.
“I am fortunate to recall experiences, mentoring, and spiritual lessons that I utilize to this day,” Washington said. “Dr. Joe Johnson, Dr. Ann Williams, Dr. Faye Avard, and Gwendolyn Trotter were stalwarts during my matriculation at Grambling … amongst many others. They were dedicated, respected, and had attained expertise in their specific areas of academic discipline and positions of leadership.
“In my opinion, Reinvesting or ‘giving back’ is not assessed against a monetary value. In addition to providing financial support, my desire is to illuminate the responsibility to all who claim Grambling as his/her own … especially those of us who attended Grambling and profited from our experiences. Do what you can with what you have … and be led by the spirit of great intentions. I would also like to inspire the next generation of leaders who will most certainly be emerging from the confines of our special place in Lincoln Parish.”
GSU’s Interim Vice President for University Advancement and Innovation Brandon Logan said it’s donations like Washington’s that keep the university moving forward in serving the needs of its students.
“Eric Washington represents what every Grambling State University student and graduate should embody – excellence in leadership, significant contributor to society, and a heart to re-invest in our beloved institution. I am deeply appreciative to Mr. Washington for identifying a financial area of need at Grambling that aligns with his investment interests.”
Washington joined the Bills in 2020 as the team’s defensive line coach and was promoted to senior defensive assistant/ defensive line coach prior to the 2022 season. Previously, he was the defensive line coach (2011-17) and defensive coordinator for the Panthers (2018-19), along with holding various positions with the Bears.
He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Texas A&M in 1997 before moving on to serve as a defensive line coach at Ohio University (2001-03) and as a defensive line coach at Northwestern University (2003-07).
“I am extremely grateful to be able to provide support to such an esteemed place of history, pride, self-awareness, and learning,” Washington added about his donation to GSU.