GRAMBLING, La (KMSS/KTAL) – What’s it like watching the quarterback you coached in high school get his first collegiate start, as a freshman, and at your alma mater? Just ask Bruce Eugene.
“By the time the game starts, and he takes his first snap, I‘ll be in tears,” said Eugene. “Just because of his journey and the ups-and-downs we’ve had coming to college. I’m going to have some napkins and tissues so I can wipe my tears.”
Tears of joy for Eugene, who coached Noah Bodden for three years at Christ The King High School in Queens, New York. Eugene, a former Grambling quarterback himself, led the G-Men to a SWAC championship in 2005 and finished his Tiger career as the all-time passing leader. 15 years later, he’s back for…
“Noah’s first start, and the relationship him and I have,” said Eugene. “It’s more than just a player-coach. It’s more like father-son, so I couldn’t miss it for the world. Hopefully make me proud.”
Bodden did just that, throwing for three touchdowns and leading Grambling State to a win over reigning SWAC champion Alabama A&M.
“I knew it instantly, his sophomore year,” said Eugene. “When I first got to Christ of King and I started coaching him. But, he was a kid that wasn’t very interested in football. He was more of a go home and play Fortnite type of guy. But as the year went on, he started to take his craft seriously, and from there he just blossomed.”
Blossomed into one of New York’s top recruits, with offers from Oregon, Tennessee, and 17 others on the table. But Bodden’s ultimate decision was one that sent waves throughout HBCU football.
“Noah came to me and said I wanted to go to a black college,” said Eugene. “There’s only one black college I’m allowing him to go to. A couple of others offered him but there’s only one black college for me and that’s Grambling State University. Noah wanted to come here to break my record, so for me I’m like, ‘Let’s go get it.'”
So, what happens if Noah breaks his record?
“Then I had part of his journey,” said Eugene.