COLLEGEVILLE (AP) -- If St. John's defeats Linfield on Saturday, it'll mean more than just a trip to the NCAA Division III football semifinals.
Another victory will be win No. 400 for Johnnies coach John Gagliardi, making him only the second college football coach to achieve the milestone.
Gagliardi, of course, has other things on his mind.
"I don't look back and I don't look forward," Gagliardi said. "I think about the present."
Said St. John's wide receiver Blake Elliot: "We are excited for him, and I think, deep down he is excited, too. But we stick to our business. He likes it that way."
Aside from the St. John's community, Gagliardi has at least one other fan who'll be rooting for him on Saturday when the Johnnies travel to Linfield in McMinnville, Ore., for a quarterfinal game.
"I'm excited for him," said former Grambling coach Eddie Robinson, the only member of college football's 400-win club. "I know how he is feeling. He's getting ready for a game. He's there for the boys, not himself."
After 57 years of coaching, Robinson retired in 1997 and walked away as college football's most-winning coach with a 408-165-15 record.
"When I think of those wins, I frankly don't believe it," Robinson, 83, said. "I wasn't the greatest coach, but God blessed me, because I had a lot of good players and a lot of great coaches. They made my life much easier."
Robinson became the first coach to win 400 games when the Tigers defeated Grand Valley State 42-6 on Oct. 7, 1995. He set an all-time record for victories, 324, on Oct. 5, 1985, with a 27-7 victory over Prairie View A&M. That broke the previous mark of 323 held by longtime Alabama coach Paul "Bear" Bryant.
Under Robinson, Grambling won 17 conference championships and several national championships among black schools. More than 200 of his players went on to play in the National Football League, including hall of famers Willie Brown, Willie Davis and Buck Buchanan. Doug Williams, one of Robinson's pupils and Grambling's current coach, was selected most valuable player of Super Bowl XXII after leading the Washington Redskins to a victory over the Denver Broncos in 1988.
"I think of how lucky I've been to have some of those players," Robinson said. "It's how you treat the young men that counts."
Robinson said there currently are no plans for him to travel to Minnesota next season if Gagliardi, whose has gone 399-113-11 in 50 seasons with the Johnnies, is still on the verge of breaking his record.
"You are aware of a shadow when things like this happen," Robinson said. "People are nice and want to talk about it."
The two coaches have met twice. The first was in 1963, after St. John's beat Prairie View A&M to win the NAIA national title. Robinson sought out Gagliardi for advice on how to beat Prairie View, a longtime nemesis. They met again years later after Gagliardi had surpassed the 300-victory milestone.
"The last time I met him, I don't even think either one of us were thinking about the record," Gagliardi said. "I was about 70 wins away. It just wasn't important. We exchanged pleasantries."
Gagliardi's only concern now is how to stop Linfield, not how to celebrate what might be his 400th career victory.
"Nothing we do we make a big deal of," he said. "I know a lot of people go crazy when we win a championship, but we won't do anything different."
After all, that's how he got 399 wins.
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