Head Coach of FAMU Rattlers

The fifteenth head coach in the storied history of Florida A&M University football, Joseph “Joe” Taylor has quickly restored the razor’s edge to the Rattler brand in his first two seasons.  In his inaugural campaign in 2008, Taylor led the Rattlers to a record-setting 9-3 finish – one of the best one-year turnarounds in the country (from 3-8 in 2007) – in the process tying Hall of Fame legend A.S. “Jake” Gaither’s school record for the most wins by a first-year head coach set in 1945.    Taylor followed that smashing debut with an 8-3 finish in 2009, during which the Rattlers made their first appearance in various NCAA FCS Top 25 polls since 2001, and were in the hunt for an at-large playoff berth until the season’s final weekend.

The Washington, D.C. native came to FAMU after 16 seasons at the helm of the Hampton (Va.) University football program, where he was the most successful coach in school history.   During his tenure at Hampton, Taylor guided the Pirates to a scintillating 136-49-1 record, highlighted by four Black College Championships (1994, 1997, 2005, 2006), nine conference titles (CIAA: 1986, 1992, 1993, 1994; MEAC: 1997, 1998, 2004, 2005, 2006), a Heritage Bowl Championship (1999), plus 11 trips to the NCAA playoffs (Division II: 1986, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994; FCS/I-AA: 1997, 1998, 2004, 2005, 2006).
In 2008, Taylor became the ninth Black College coach to surpass the 200-career win barrier, capturing the milestone victory with a 28-21 win over Tennessee State.     He finished the 2009 campaign with a sterling career mark of 214-82-4 (.719), ranking him third (3rd) in career victories and fourth (4th) in career winning percentage among active coaches in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS, formerly I-AA).

Taylor currently ranks second among active head coaches at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) behind College Hall of Fame legend and former FAMU coach Billy Joe (243), who completed his second year at Miles (Ala.) College in 2009.    He also ranks seventh among head coaches at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in career victories.

Coach Taylor’s hard work, determination and commitment to excellence have made him a pioneer amongst his peers as evident by his multiple leadership positions.

  • A member of the Board of Directors for the Black Coaches Association, Taylor was most recently recognized in 2006 by Sports Illustrated as one of four finalists for the Eddie Robinson Coach of Distinction Award.
  • President of the 2001 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), he is the chairman the AFCA Minority Issues Committee and the Board of Directors of the American Football Coaches Foundation.
  • In addition, Taylor also acts as a member of both the Advisory Board for the Wilson Sporting Goods Corporation and the Division IFCS All-American Selection Committee.
  • He has been selected as the Coach of the Year by several professional organizations such as the Washington, D.C. Pigskin Club, the Norfolk Sports Club, the American Football Coaches Association, and the Atlanta, Florida and Richmond Touchdown Clubs.
  • In 2000 Taylor was honored with the Johnny Vaught Lifetime Achievement Award by the All-American Football Foundation; he was inducted into the Western Illinois University Hall of Fame in 2001, and in 2009, he was enshrined in the John McClendon/CIAA (Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association) Hall of Fame.

Taylor, who is man of great religious faith, is active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and places great emphasis on a player’s spiritual and character development, believing it has a direct relation to his competitive success.