FAMU Introduces Taylor As New Grid Coach

By St. Clair Murraine
Updated: January 2, 2008

TALLAHASSEE — FAMU president James Ammons and athletic director Bill Hayes said a lot to persuade Joe Taylor to take the head football job, then Taylor made his decision based on what he felt inside about being able to turn the program around.

“It was a gut feeling to be honest,” Taylor said Monday after he was introduced as FAMU’s new head football coach. “I’m looking at the leadership here. They just got me excited about what’s going on.

“The bottom line is everything is about timing — 2008 is a time of change.”

Taylor, who spent the last 16 seasons at Hampton University, has a five-year contract that will pay him $225,000 annually. The figure is believed to be the highest for any coach in the MEAC. He will also receive a $12,000 housing allowance.

Taylor replaces Rubin Carter, who was terminated at the end of this past season after leading the Rattlers to a 3-8 record. Taylor was hired after FAMU’s first two choices turned down offers from Ammons, who had promised to have a coach in place before the end of 2007.

“I want to say to everyone here, promise kept,” Ammons said to the throng of reporters and Rattler fans who packed the conference room at Galimore Fieldhouse. “We said all along that we’d have a coach by the end of the year. Not only that, we’ve got the best coach in America.”

Taylor comes to FAMU with a career record of 197-78-4. During his tenure at Hampton, he won five MEAC titles while compiling a 136-49-1 record.

Hayes said conversations with Taylor began over a month ago and his name was on a short list of candidates all along.

“We didn’t want to do something ordinary,” Hayes said. “We want to do something off the charts and Joe fits that bill to help us do something that can take the whole thing to another level.

“We’ve got work to do (but) this is step one. We’ve got to grow the whole thing and we’ve got to do it fast. This is just the beginning.”

Taylor, who is expected to begin work in two weeks, said he’ll start to restore the program by getting his players to buy into his philosophies. Evaluation of each player will begin with a one-on-one meeting, he said. He also said their talents and abilities will be reassessed and there might be changes in the use of personnel.

But he indicated that there might not be any major changes on the current roster.

“It’s got to be about personnel, but it will be a shame if anybody comes into the program and takes your place,” Taylor said. “It’s the guys here that make the difference in your program. I think it’s a sin for guy to be in the program and somebody else comes in and take his job.”

As for his staff, Taylor said he’s received several inquiries, but it won’t be a hurry-up process.

“We just want to make sure that when it’s all said and done that we have the right people in place,” he said. “It’s a people business. We’ve got to like each other.”