RUSTON, La. (AP) _ Grambling athletic director Robert Piper, diagnosed with cancer in February 1998, died Tuesday at his home. He was 58.

A native of Rayville, Piper had served since January 1997 as chief administrator of a Grambling athletic program that has averaged nearly 100 student-athletes per semester on the school's honor roll.

Since his arrival, Grambling successfully complied with a Title IX complaint and subsequent NCAA investigation. It also captured the Southwestern Athletic Conference Commissioner's Cup, an all-sports trophy.

He earned a master's degree in health and physical education from Iowa and later served as a teacher and coach at Western High School in Washington, D.C., where he produced championship basketball teams.

He later joined Equitable Life Assurance Society, specializing in business insurance and estate conservation, before joining Grambling in 1985 as development officer and the school's first executive director of the Grambling Athletic Foundation.

Piper later served as special assistant to Grambling's president for external relations, acting director of alumni affairs and Bayou Classic coordinator before leaving in 1994 to become director of development at Talladega College in Alabama.

A funeral services was scheduled for Nov. 30 at Zion Traveler Baptist Church.