GRAMBLING, LA (October 17, 2013)— Grambling State University defensive coach Dennis "Dirt" Winston has been named interim head coach of the G-Men, effective today.
Winston joined the GSU family in 2012 after working at Arkansas-Pine Bluff as the school's defensive line coach since 2010. He immediately implemented a closed practice so he and his coaches could work with the football team after a frustrating two days filled with concerns and emotions.
"We are blessed to have a coach with the type of background and experience like Dirt on staff already and ready to go," said GSU President Frank G. Pogue. "There's no question we're having a difficult season, but I'm certain that Winston will get our young men focused on what they need to do to beat Jackson State University this weekend and to bring some other wins the balance of the season."
"I've known Dirt a long time, and I can't think of a better choice," added Aaron James, the university's athletic director. "He can tone things down and get the program up and running smoothly while empowering our football players to be successful."
Winston coached at Grambling State from 1992-1994 and from 1995-1997. He was an assistant coach at Arkansas (1997-98), Norfolk State (1994-95) and Arkansas State (1989-91). Winston was an assistant for the Toledo Rockets (MAC) for four seasons, coaching linebackers from 2001-02 and the defensive line two seasons. Winston left Toledo to join the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League coaching staff in 2005, coaching the defensive line.
During his playing days Winston played linebacker at the University of Arkansas from 1973-76, and was selected to the Razorbacks' All-Century Team in 1994. He was drafted by the Steelers in the fifth round of the NFL draft in 1977.
He played eight seasons with the Steelers (1977-81, 1985-87), including Super Bowl victories in 1978 and 1979. He also played three seasons with the New Orleans Saints from 1982-84.
Interim head coach and running backs coach George Ragsdale has been reassigned in the athletic department. "Rags is an amazing person and we're happy to have him on our team," said Pogue. "We thank him for helping us these last few weeks, and we know he'll help us in other ways."