By: Lanetra Bennett | WCTV Eyewitness News
December 11, 2017
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- FAMU supporters are happy to check "getting a new head football coach" off the list.
Willie R. Simmons has been named the Rattlers' 16th head football coach.
Former player Sharard Shabazz says there were too many changes on the sidelines when he played football at FAMU from 2014 to 2016.
"I had Fuller, Earl Holmes, and Coach Wood. Man, I had three in my three years," he said.
Shabazz hopes the hiring of Simmons will bring stability to FAMU football.
"You have to remember, coaches have to bring in their recruits. They have to build a team around the people that they want. With a coach getting in every one or two different years, their recruits are being put off to the side for the new coach's players. Then you got the former players on there, and you got walk-ons. It's just a lot of different variables that take into place," said Shabazz.
Many fans aren't just glad the position is filled, they're excited it's being filled by Simmons.
Tallahassee resident Terry Thomas said, "I think that somebody from here that really loves here, is here now. That's what I think about it. He's a good guy, and he's going to make a lot of good things happen."
"Willie Simmons knows the X's and O's, and he wins," said Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor.
Proctor added, "We're going to be here supporting this coach. We're going to be in the stands. We're going to be on the streets, here down on Perry Street. All of Rattler Nation is coming to support a hometown local coach that we believe in and that we love."
Shabazz said, "It's very encouraging to know that we finally have a coach that they feel is going to culminate a better atmosphere among the football players and among the campus. We haven't been on our game with football, but you know, FAMU, we're going to bring it back as we always do."
There will be a press conference to officially introduce Willie R. Simmons as FAMU's 18th head football coach on Tuesday at 11 a.m. at the Lawson Multi-purpose Center. WCTV will have team coverage.