MEAC Commissioner Dennis Thomas, Ph.D., Alabama A&M Football Coach Connell Maynor and former FAMU Football Coach Joe Taylor
By Vaughn Wilson
Former Florida A&M University (FAMU) head football coach Joe Taylor was enshrined into the Black College Football Hall of Fame on Feb. 22, 2020, in a lavish ceremony at the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
Considered the pinnacle of Black college football, the Black College Football Hall of Fame (BCFHOF) has joined with the College Football Hall of Fame. Inductees from both halls reside in the same downtown Atlanta facility.
Taylor concluded his coaching career at FAMU, leading the Rattlers to their last MEAC title in 2010.
His coaching career spans from Howard University (1983), Virginia Union (1984-1991), Hampton University (1992-2007), to FAMU (2008-2012).
His career record is 232-97-4 and he won four black college football national championships (1995, 2004, 2005 and 2006). He also won six MEAC titles (1997-1998, 2004-2006) with Hampton and 2010 at FAMU. He won four CIAA titles and is a four-time MEAC Coach of the Year.
Taylor was humbled by the honor.
“To be in a room with the stars and the caliber of legends that attended the event was the pinnacle to my career. I was never more honored than to be mentioned with legends like Eddie Robinson and Jake Gaither,” Taylor said.
Taylor was inducted in the 11th class of the BCFHOF, which included Earl “Air” Harvey (North Carolina Central), James Hunter (Grambling State), Robert Mathis (Alabama A&M), Erik Williams (Central State), and MEAC Commissioner Dennis Thomas, Ph.D.
Former FAMU head football coach Billy Joe was enshrined in the BCFHOF in 2017. He was happy to see another in the long tradition of great FAMU football coaches be recognized.
“Without question, this is a tremendous honor. A lot of legendary folks have gone before us. Joe Taylor and I have been friends for many, many decades. He was an outstanding football player, a tremendous person, a highly successful coach and I am very, very proud to call him my friend,” Joe said.
While Taylor’s career spanned over three decades, he sees his time at FAMU as special.
“My last five years of coaching were at FAMU and I was blessed to be on the highest of seven hills in Tallahassee. There is no bigger brand than FAMU,” Taylor said. “The passionate alumni, the Marching “100” and the people make it a place like no other. There is only one school that has a Joe Bullard. After coming to a FAMU homecoming, my brother proclaimed to all he met that, “there is nothing in the world like a FAMU homecoming.”
In his retirement from coaching, Taylor was hired as director of athletics for Virginia Union. He was elevated to vice president for intercollegiate athletics in 2019.
To be inducted into the BCFHOF in Atlanta is no small achievement, Taylor said.
“To make it to this point meant that you were around great administrators, great assistant coaches and great student-athletes,” Taylor said. “It’s just amazing that I was enshrined in Atlanta, where the mayor is a FAMU graduate.”