Robinson to miss Hula Bowl
An illness will keep the legendary coach from ending his career at the college all-star gameBy Paul Arnett
An ailing Eddie Robinson won't end his illustrious coaching career at this week's 52nd annual Hula Bowl as planned, officials confirmed yesterday from Maui.
Robinson was attending the American Football Coaches Association meeting in Dallas when he took ill Friday and had to return to Grambling, La. Robinson announced his retirement earlier this year from Grambling State, a tiny school in Northern Louisiana. He is the winningest football coach in NCAA history with 408 victories.
University of Hawaii head coach Fred vonAppen was asked to replace Robinson on the South staff, but cannot because of this week's recruiting commitments.
"We're going to wait until (AFCA executive director) Grant Teaff arrives (today) to make a final decision," Hula Bowl chief executive officer Lenny Klompus said last night. "We're thinking of asking (St. Louis School head coach) Cal Lee if he can come over and help us out. Grant just loves Cal."
Hula Bowl officials spent most of last night trying to confirm the numerous arrivals for Sunday's college all-star game at War Memorial Stadium. Among them are Nebraska's Scott Frost, the starting quarterback for the South, and Michigan's Brian Griese, who will get the nod for the North.
"An NFL scout told Scott he was going head-to-head with Brian and he said Scott's eyes lit up," Klompus said. "The national championship hook is what ESPN is using to promote the game. It's a perfect situation for us."
As expected, there are several last-second replacements. Injuries in Saturday's East-West Shrine Classic to Air Force linebacker Chris Gizzi, Utah State receiver Nakia Jenkins and Wisconsin receiver Donald Hayes forced the AFCA selection committee to make some changes.
Shawn Scales of Virginia Tech will replace Hayes and Stanford linebacker John Haskins will step in for Gizzi. Jenkins won't be replaced for the North.
"We also added two players from Colorado," Klompus said. "They are linebacker Ryan Black and nose tackle Ryan Olson. We've also invited last year's most valuable players in the Grey Cup and Super Bowl to take part in the Heisman Trophy festivities. They are Desmond Howard (of the Oakland Raiders) and Doug Flutie (of the Toronto Argonauts)."
Stanford's Kailee Wong, whose father played football at Roosevelt High, was ill at the East-West Classic, but will take part in this weekend's Hula Bowl. Joining Wong on the North are three players from the University of Hawaii - center Shane Oliveira, and safeties Eddie Klaneski and Chris Shinnick.
The coaches for the North are John Cooper of Ohio State, Paul Pasqualoni of Syracuse, Larry Kehres of Division III national champion Mountain Union College (Ohio) and Joe Glenn of Division II national champion Northern Colorado.
The South will be coached by Bruce Snyder of Arizona State, Bob Toledo of UCLA and Andy Talley of Atlantic 10 Conference champion Villanova.