Grambling State Tigers

NCAA Division: Division I
Conference: Southwestern Athletic Conference
Past Conferences: None
City: Grambling, Louisiana

Arena: Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center
NCAA Tournaments: 2 (Division II)
National Championships: 1 (NAIA)
Conference Titles: 11

Team History

The Grambling State University basketball history goes back at least to the 1950s. They were an absolute force in their conference from the late 50s till the early 60s. They won conference championships in 1959, 1960, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1967, 1971, and 1972.

The Tigers appeared in the NAIA Tournament seven different times. The 1961 Tigers won the NAIA National Championship.

Fred Hobdy began coaching the Tigers in 1977. After an underwhelming season in his first year, the Tigers had three straight winning seasons from 1978-1980. The Tigers were competitive but never won a conference championship under Hobdy. He finished his career with a 123-126 overall record.

Hodby had the pleasure of coaching Tigers’ all-time great Kenneth Simpson. Simpson is fifth all-time in points per game and assists per game in program history.

Robert Hopkins coached the Tigers from 1986-1989. They finished with a 16-14 overall record and won the regular season SWAC championship in Hopkin’s first year at the helm. After an underwhelming second season, the Tigers finished 15-14 and won the SWAG again. Hopkins finished his career at Grambling with a 44-45 overall record.

Aaron James coached the Tigers from 1989-1995. James didn’t lead the Tigers to a single winning season during his six-year tenure.

First Winning Season Under Coach Reynolds

Lacey Reynolds was named head coach in 1995. Reynolds coached the Tigers to just one winning season during his four-year tenure. The 1997-1998 team had five players averaging double-digit points. Reynolds was out after leading the team to a 6-21 overall record in his final season.

Larry Wright became coach of the Tigers in 1999. The Tigers earned their first winning season under Wright in 2005 after finishing with a 14-12 overall record. The Tigers had an almost identical season the very next one, where they finished 14-13. Unfortunately, those were their last two winning seasons under Wright. He was out after the 2008 season. He ended his career at Grambling with a 88-161 overall record.

Wright coached one of the best players in Tigers’ history in Brion Rush. Rush is the all-time leading scorer in program history. Rush averaged over 25 points per game and seven rebounds per game in his senior season.

Robert Washington coached the Tigers from 2009-2012. They averaged about seven wins and 22 losses under Washington.

Shawn Walker coached the Tigers from 2014-2017. The Tigers didn’t have a single winning season under Walker. However, they showed major improvement in each season. In his first season they won just two games. The next season they won seven, and, in his last season, the Tigers won 16.

Donte Jackson has been the head coach of the Tigers since 2017. Jackson picked up right where Walker left off and led the Tigers to a 17-14 record in his first season. Additionally, they won the regular season SWAC Championship. Sophomore guard Ivy Smith led the charge, averaging nearly 17 points per game, five assists per game, and five rebounds per game. Smith has the most career assists in program history.

The 2019-2020 Tigers finished with a 17-15 record. It was their last time finishing over .500. However, they currently have a 7-5 overall record.

All-Time Records (CBB)

  • Points Scored
    • Brion Rush: 2,052
    • Paul Haynes: 1,958
    • Robert Williams: 1,876
    • Kenny Sykes: 1,853
    • Kenneth Simpson: 1,657
  • Rebounds
    • Robert Williams; 1,002
    • Paul Haynes; 849
    • Michael Tardy: 740
    • Terrell Wesley: 646
    • Anthony Williams: 644
  • Assists
    • Ivy Smith: 526
    • Martin Lemelle: 400
    • Kevin Howard: 377
    • Clarence Tanner: 351
    • Kenneth Simpson: 327


What Is the Highest Win Total in Program History?

The 1979-1980 Grambling State Tigers finished with 22 wins to eight losses. They were led by center Robert Williams. Williams is the only player in program history to finish his career with 1,000 rebounds.

What Was the Worst Season in Program History?

The 2012-2013 Tigers finished with a 0-28 record. They finished dead last in the SWAC. It was the Tigers first time going winless.

How Many NCAA Tournaments Have the Tigers Made?

The Tigers haven’t made a NCAA Tourney at the Division I level. However, they made it twice at the Division II level.

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