|Organization:||Grambling State University (LA)|
Wilbert Ellis' ties with Grambling State University have been long and strong, as the 1959 physical education graduate played baseball there before becoming assistant coach and then the second head coach in program history.
Ellis was an assistant under Grambling President/Coach Ralph Waldo Emerson Jones for 17 seasons before taking over as head coach in 1978 and guiding the Tigers to eight divisional championships, three Southwestern Athletic Conference championships and five NCAA regional appearances while amassing a record of 740-462-1 over 26 seasons and becoming the third all-time winningest college coach in Louisiana behind Jones and LSU's Skip Bertman.
The seven-time SWAC Coach of the Year (1978, 83, 84, 85, 91, 98 and 99) won numerous other awards over the years and was recognized by the Louisiana state legislature on five occasions because of his outstanding coaching record and service to Grambling State University. He produced eight All-Americans, sent 48 players on to sign with Major League teams and helped bring the New York Yankees to play the Tigers in three exhibition games on the school's campus. Some of his biggest career highlights are exchanging lineups with Yankee managers three times.
He also has been awarded several times by the American Baseball Coaches Association and was honored with the ABCA 25-year award, 400th win in 1993, and with the Louisville Slugger Award in 1999. Ellis has also been honored by the NAACP and served on the NCAA's Division I Baseball Advisory Committee. The NCAA also honored Ellis as one of its Top 50 Coaches with 200 or more wins.
Ellis also spent much time serving the youth of Louisiana's small town of Grambling and surrounding Lincoln Parish, as well as those throughout the nation. He was a threetime recipient of an outstanding service award for developing youth (1974, 98 and 99), was named "Man of the Year" by the Ministers of Lincoln Parish in 1983 and was honored in 1999 as the Russell Maryland Foundation in Chicago "Man of the Year" for athletics.
The Ruston, La. native served 12 years as regional/super regional tournament director for NCAA Division I Baseball. But all the while much of his focus was on the YES clinics, 15 of which he conducted as part of the festivities surrounding the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
Known as Grambling's "man for all seasons and reasons", Ellis served as Assistant and Associate Director of Athletics for eight years, working closely with Eddie Robinson's football and Fred Hobdy's basketball programs, and also served a two-year stint as GSU's Interim Athletics Director.
Ellis helped oversee the construction of Grambling State's new 2.1 million dollar baseball stadium, where he coached his final season.
Ellis was inducted into the SWAC Hall of Fame in 2011 and was the recipient of the 2015 Robert E. Russ Award.