FAMU renames football and softball facilities, honors Rattler icons

The Rattlers announced the changes Thursday
New facility names celebrate FAMU icons
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 5:55 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Florida A&M University announced Thursday that they’re set to rename the institution’s football field, softball field and football locker room.

The FAMU Board of Trustees approved a recommendation to change those facilities’ names in a meeting Thursday, according to a statement on the FAMU Athletics website.

The board unanimously approved the recommendation submitted earlier this year by Tiffani-Dawn Sykes, vice president and director of athletics, according to the release. Ceremonies with honorees and loved ones will come at a later date.

The new field will be called Ken Riley Field, honoring the historic former athlete and coach who will also be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August, according to the release.

“Riley is the only person to compete as a football student-athlete and serve as head football coach and athletics director in FAMU history,” the statement said.

Softball will now be played on Veronica Wiggins Softball Field. The statement shared her impact on Rattlers over the years:

“Wiggins is the winningest coach in FAMU Athletics history, with 726 wins in 29 seasons. Wiggins took over the Rattlers softball program in 1992 and coached the team to their first winning season in her second season with a 33-25 record and the program’s first MEAC Championship. The ‘93 team was also the MEAC’s first softball champion,” the release said.

And the football locker room will now be named after George “Godfather” Thompson, a former Rattlers running back and defensive back and FAMU Sports Hall of Fame member.

“Thompson was a close confidant of FAMU’s legendary coach Jake Gaither, who hired him as an equipment manager in 1954, and he worked at FAMU for 49 years until 2003,” the message said. “Thompson led a successful fundraising campaign in 2019 to replace the football team lockers and the renovations were completed in the summer of 2021.”

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