VP/AD Tiffani-Dawn Sykes, Coach Simmons and President Robinson hold SWAC Championship Trophy.(Credit:Glenn Beil)
Florida A&M University celebrated its first Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Football Championship with a 35-14 win over Prairie View A&M University at Bragg Memorial Stadium Saturday, Dec 2.
The Championship win sets the stage for FAMU to face Howard University at the Cricket Celebration Bowl in Atlanta noon on December 16.
Saturday’s victory caps an undefeated SWAC season and a remarkable year for the University – breaking into U.S. News & World Report Top 100 National Public Universities at No. 91; No. 3 among all Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), the highest ranked public HBCU for the fifth consecutive year, No. 21 in the U.S. News & World Report Social Mobility Index; record fundraising and research.
“Congratulations to Coach Simmons and the Rattlers on winning a well-deserved SWAC Football Championship. The team’s on field accomplishments serve as a wonderful coda to all the other great things that happen every day at FAMU,” said President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., who witnessed the victory alongside wife, Sharon, on a raining Saturday night. “It has been a great year. Many thanks to our students, faculty, staff, fans, and supporters who helped us in so many ways during the season.”
On a rain-soaked evening, the Rattlers took an early 21-0 lead before the plucky SWAC Western Division Champs replied with touchdowns on either side of half time. Thunder and lightning forced the suspension of play for more than half an hour. After the Panthers pulled to within seven points, the Rattlers scored two consecutive touchdowns to put the contest beyond reach.
A small but appreciative crowd stayed until the end as the Rattlers celebrated an unbeaten SWAC season, including Orange Blossom Classic and Florida Blue Florida Classic victories as Jackson State University and Bethune-Cookman University, respectively. Standing next to President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., Vice President/Athletic Director Tiffani-Dawn Sykes, Coach Willie Simmons accepted the championship trophy.
“I couldn’t be more elated for these young men, coaches, support staff, student workers, volunteers, the University and athletic administration, as well as Rattler Nation,” Simmons said. “Collectively, we have made this possible, and we look forward to continuing to build upon this magical year.”
With the victory, it marks FAMU’s fifth different sport to win a SWAC Championship title since joining the conference in 2021. FAMU has also won SWAC titles in baseball, women’s volleyball, women’s tennis, and women’s cross country.