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Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Florida A&M's Joe Taylor to hang it up

By Donald Hunt
Special to ESPN.com

A true coaching legend in black college football announced his retirement over the weekend.

Florida A&M coach Joe Taylor made his announcement to retire on Saturday morning during a pregame breakfast prior to the Rattlers' 16-3 loss to North Carolina A&T.

Although this season has been a struggle for Taylor with a 3-6 record, he will put the finishing touches on a great coaching career that has spanned 40 years. He has compiled an impressive 223-96-4 overall record and has a 35-19 mark in four seasons at FAMU.

Taylor, 62, coached at Howard (1983), Virginia Union (1984-91) and Hampton (1992-2007) before coming to Florida A&M (2008-2012).

He had his most successful stint at Hampton where he posted a 136-49-1 record over 16 seasons. During those seasons, he helped produce many NFL players, including Justin Durant (Detroit Lions) and Kendall Langford (St. Louis Rams). Taylor led the Pirates to four Black College National Championships, eight conference titles and seven appearances in the NCAA playoffs.

The season prior to Taylor’s arrival, FAMU finished 3-8. In his first season in 2008, he led the program to a remarkable 9-3 record. Those numbers allowed him to tie Rattlers legendary coach A.S. “Jake” Gaither for the most wins by a first-year coach.

Gaither, along with Grambling State’s Eddie Robinson, is regarded as one of the great black college coaches. Taylor will take his place on that list when the season concludes in two weeks.

His accomplishments shouldn’t be taken lightly. In addition to winning plenty of games, he has developed a lot of young men on and off the field. He has built a legacy that should take him to the College Football Hall of Fame some day.

Florida A&M will start to compile a list of coaching candidates to replace Taylor. It’s hard to say who that will be at this point. But whomever lands this job, he will have some big shoes to fill.

Notes

Boxtorow HBCU Football Media Top 10 Poll

1. Winston-Salem State
2. Bethune-Cookman
3. Arkansas-Pine Bluff
4. Tennessee State
5. Tuskegee
6. Alabama State
7. Alabama A&M
8. North Carolina Central
9. Miles
10. Fort Valley State

Contact Donald Hunt with HBCU questions, comments or story ideas at dhunt37261@aol.com.