Tallahassee, FL - FAMU Sports Spokesperson Vaughn Wilson says FAMU Head Football Coach Taylor has decided to step down now and will not coach Saturday's homecoming game.
Defensive Coordinator Earl Holmes, who has expressed interest in the top position, will run day to day operations for now. A 10 a.m. press conference is scheduled for this morning.
TALLAHASSEE, FL (Nov.2) – FAMU head coach Joe Taylor announced his retirement from coaching this morning in the team's pre-game breakfast. Taylor said that after 40 years on the sideline, "You know, when you know. From 1972 to now is 40 years. It's been a blessed career. We've touched a lot of lives. I'm officially announcing today that this is the year I retire, humbly. Full of gratitude," he said.
As players prepared for the MEAC game against the North Carolina A&T State University, they had no idea that Taylor was about to make such a startling announcement. Players coaches and support staff embraced Taylor and vowed to give their all in winning the last three games.
Taylor has amassed a record of 233 wins against 95 losses. He accumulated a 35-18 record thus far in his tenure at FAMU. With the 233 wins, Taylor sits tied with longtime Southern University coach A.W. "Ace" Mumford for third place all-time in wins. He is two wins away from tying John "Big John" Merritt, at 235 to move into second place behind the untouchable record of Grambling's Eddie Robinson.
FAMU Director of Athletics, Derek Horne, said "We are proud of what coach Taylor has brought to this program. As an administrator, I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to work with a coaching legend, who will go down as one of the best ever in HBCU athletics. We understand his desire to move into the next phase of his life and we support him wholeheartedly."
FAMU interim president, Dr. Larry Robinson praised Taylor for his successes on and off the field. "We reached some great milestones during Coach Taylor's career, including FAMU's debut in November 2008 on ESPN College Game Day in which FAMU became the first historically black college or university to host the program. Coach Taylor has had a storied career as one of the winningest coaches in black college football. In addition, he has built character and promoted academic progression of students athletes, always reminding them that their best contributions will often occur off the field of athletic competition. We certainly appreciate everything he has done to advance the football program at FAMU and we wish Coach Taylor all the best in his retirement," Robinson said.
Taylor is the 15th head coach in the history of Florida A&M University. In 2007, the season before his arrival, the Rattlers finished 3-8 overall. In his inaugural campaign in 2008, he crafted the best one-year turnaround in the country with the football team finishing 9-3. In doing so, he tied legendary coach A.S. Jake Gaither for the most wins by a first year coach.
He followed that season with an 8-3 season in 2009, vaulting the Rattlers into the NCAA FCS polls for the first time since 2001. In 2010, which was Taylor's best at FAMU, his team won a share of the MEAC football championship, going 8-3. That team capped the season with six straight wins. In 2011, the Rattlers finished 7-4.
Taylor is a native of Washington, D.C. and graduated from Western Illinois University. He has been a part of several coaches associations and organizations. He is on the American Football Coaches Association board, the Board of Directors of the Black Coaches Association, the advisory board of Wilson Sporting Goods Company and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He is also a member of the CIAA Hall of Fame.
Horne said the department will move swiftly in preparing for Taylor's successor. "We will make deliberate efforts to find the ideal person to continue the legacy of head coach of Rattler Football here at Florida A&M."
Tallahassee, FL -- Florida A&M head football coach Joe Taylor will retire following the 2012 season. Taylor made the announcement Saturday morning, before his team plays North Carolina A&T in Greensboro, NC. Entering his fifth season at FAMU, Taylor has won 35 games, and the Rattlers were co-MEAC champions in the 2009 season. The only thing missing from Taylor's accomplishments at Florida A&M is a playoff berth.
Taylor began his head coaching career at Howard University in 1983. After one season with the Bison, he was the head coach at Virginia Union from 1984 until 1991. He then took over the Hampton program from 1992 until 2008. In 16 years with the Pirates, he won 136 games and five MEAC championships.
FAMU is currently (3-5) on the season and (3-2) in the MEAC, 5th place in the conference. After Saturday's game with the Aggies, FAMU plays North Carolina Central on November 10th for homecoming. They'll then travel to Orlando to play Bethune Cookman in the Florida Classic on November 17th.