The 15th 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.
•The 2001 President of the 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 I
FCS 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.
TAYLOR’S PROFESSIONAL HISTORY
Coach Taylor began his professional career as a physical education instructor with the District of Columbia school system.
He also served as an assistant football coach at H.D. Woodson High School where he helped the program win two city championships.
In addition, as the head wrestling coach, his teams won four consecutive city championships.
Taylor also served as an assistant baseball coach on a team that won three city championships.
His collegiate career began as offensive line coach at Eastern Illinois in 1978. That same season the Panthers captured the Division II
In 1980 he moved on to become the offensive coordinator at Virginia Union University and served in that capacity for two years.
In 1982 he joined the Howard University staff as the defensive coordinator and was named head coach the following season (1983).
Taylor returned to Virginia Union as head coach in 1984, guiding the Panthers to an undefeated regular season and a Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Championship in just three short years.
He continued his winning ways when he joined the Hampton University family in 1992, leading the Pirates to three consecutive CIAA titles and two consecutive NCAA playoff appearances.
In 1993 Taylor led the Pirates to an undefeated regular season and the quarterfinal round of the national playoffs, becoming the first CIAA team in history to win 12 games in a season, finishing the year with an overall mark of 12-1.
In their last season of Division II competition, the 1994 Pirates added yet another milestone with a 10-1 finish and the Sheridan Broadcasting Network’s (SBN) Jake Gaither Trophy, the prestigious honor recognizing the Historical Black College National Champion.
The 1994 Pirates also broke the CIAA total offense record with 5,575 yards, becoming the first CIAA team to finish the season averaging more than 500 yards of total offense per game.
Hampton dominated its final seven opponents as the Pirates averaged 54.2 points per game while limiting their opposition to a mere 14.2 points per game, extending their CIAA winning streak to 23 games.
The Pirates were recognized as the NCAA Division II statistical champion for scoring offense (46.4 ppg) and rushing defense (66.0 ypg).
Debuting in the Division I FCS and the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) in 1995, the Pirates faced just four conference opponents, finishing 3-1 in those contests. They led the MEAC in both total offense (396.3 ypg) and total defense (122.3 ypg).
The Pirates finished their first season of Division I FCS competition with an impressive 8-3 record.
The 1997 season saw Hampton (10-2) crowned SBN National
Champions for the second time in four years, as they captured their first-ever MEAC title and their first bid to the I-AA playoffs.
In 1998, Hampton (9-3) repeated as MEAC Champions and made its second consecutive appearance in the FCS playoffs.
The 2004 season saw Hampton (10-2) climb back atop the MEAC standings thanks to an astonishing defense and solid offensive and special teams play.
The Pirate defense led the country in turnovers forced with 43, while they also led the FCS in kickoff return average as Jerome Mathis set a national record with five kickoff returns for touchdowns.
Offensively, Hampton featured the second highest scoring unit in the nation at better than 43 points per game, including four 50-point
The Pirates continued their championship ways in 2005 (11-1) and 2006 (10-2), becoming the first program in more than 20 years to capture three consecutive MEAC titles.
Taylor’s 2008 Florida A&M University squad was 17 points shy of a perfect season at 9-3, setting an NCAA record with 10 returns for touchdowns, while featuring a talented club that produced eight All-
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference performers and two All-Americans.
His first two teams at FAMU were led by two of the nation’s most dynamic players in 2009, MEAC Offensive Player of the Year QB Curtis Pulley, the league’s total offense leader, and two-time All-America kick returner LeRoy Vann, who shattered numerous school, conference and NCAA records for kick returns.
TAYLOR PERSONAL: Taylor, a 1972 graduate of Western Illinois University and a native of Washington, D.C. is married to the former
Beverly Richardson. They are the proud parents of two sons, Aaron Joseph (29) and Dennis Anthony (25).