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Florida A&M head coach Joe Taylor has coached his final game for the Rattlers.  Taylor originally announced he would retire at the end of the season, but after meeting with FAMU athletic director Derek Horne on Wednesday, the legendary head coach decided to retire from the coaching ranks effective immediately.

Former FAMU standout and current defensive coordinator, Earl Homes, will serve as the interim head coach when the Rattlers face North Carolina Central for homecoming this week and in next week’s end of the season showdown against Bethune-Cookman in the Florida Classic.

Joe Taylor’s 233 career wins ranks him third all-time amongst HBCU coaches.  His .648 winning percentage during his FAMU tenure ranks him ahead of noteworthy FAMU coaches Rudy Hubbard (.630) and Ken Riley (.561); and virtually ties him with Billy Joe (.651).   Under his leadership, FAMU shared the 2010 MEAC conference crown with Bethune-Cookman and South Carolina State; the Rattlers received recognition in 2009 for having the MEAC’s most significant APR improvement; the football program was stabilized after coming off of NCAA probation; and ESPN College Gameday broadcasted their first ever telecast from an HBCU campus.

Despite his on the field and off the field accomplishments in Tallahassee, Taylor never seemed to live up to the expectations of the Rattler faithful.  Taylor is 0-5 against FAMU’s historical rivals Howard, Southern, Tennessee State, and Bethune-Cookman since the middle of last season.  

I have no insight on the inner-workings of the FAMU athletic department, nor am I suggesting that coach Taylor was the best man to advance FAMU football.  Having said that, Joe Taylor is by all accounts a genuinely great man and he is a legendary HBCU football coach.  He earned the right to receive a more dignified ending to his illustrious career.  Unfortunately for him, he was not giving the honor to bow out gracefully.

Godspeed Coach Taylor.  Thank you for your contribution to HBCU football and for shaping the lives of hundreds of young men.

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