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Joe Taylor leaves Hampton to become head football coach at Florida A&M

December 30, 2007

HAMPTON, Va. – Long-time Hampton University head football coach Joseph Taylor has announced his intentions to leave the University and to accept an offer to coach at Florida A&M University.

Hampton Director of Athletics Lonza Hardy Jr. said Taylor indicated to him late last week that he had an offer from another university on the table and that he had decided to accept that offer. It is presumed that the offer came from Western Carolina University.

Discussions with Florida A&M intensified over the weekend and Taylor chose to go to Tallahassee rather than Cullowhee.


"I think that both programs (Florida A&M and Western Carolina) have a chance to win, but Florida A&M has a chance to win sooner." Taylor told the Daily Press newspaper in Hampton Roads. " I felt good about Western Carolina's commitment, but in the final analysis I'll have a few more resources at FAMU.

Florida A&M officials have scheduled a press conference for 2:00pm Monday, December 31 to present Taylor as the school's 15th head football coach.

“When I look back over my 16 years at Hampton University, I have nothing but fond memories,” said Taylor. “The leadership of the University has treated me well. The staff, the alumni and the players who played for me all treated me like I was a member of their family. Everything that I accomplished here was because of their loyal support of Hampton University in general and of me personally.”

Taylor leaves Hampton after compiling a record of 136-49-1, ranking him among the winningest active coaches in the NCAA’s Football Championship Subdivision (formerly called Division I-AA). His teams at HU captured three CIAA championships and five MEAC championships. Since Hampton left the CIAA and Division II, the Pirates, under the guidance of Taylor, competed in the NCAA playoffs a total of five times. Overall as a head coach, including stints at Howard University and Virginia Union University, Taylor’s career record is 197-78-4.

“Coach Taylor is a man of great character,” said HU president Dr. William R. Harvey. “One of the many reasons I have enjoyed working with Coach Taylor over the years is because of his positive leadership. He won many games for us here at Hampton, but the true measure of Coach Taylor’s success here has been the affect he has had on the young men who played for him. He has been a positive role model for hundreds of young men. He has been a true ambassador for Hampton University.”

Hampton officials have indicated that defensive coordinator Jerry Holmes has been selected to succeed Taylor as head coach of the Pirates.

Holmes, a Newport News, Va. native and West Virginia University graduate, has an background that includes 10 years as a player in the NFL, four years as an assistant coach at his alma mater and seven years as an assistant coach at Hampton University. He also has seven years of coaching experience on the professional level, including stints as defensive secondary coach with the San Diego Chargers (2002-03), the Washington Redskins (2001) and the Cleveland Browns (1999-2000).

“Everywhere Coach Holmes has been, he’s enjoyed a high level of success,” said Hardy. “He has a very good relationship with our student-athletes and the staff alike. He is the ideal coach to bring continuity to our program.”

Holmes played football at Bethel High School in Hampton, graduating in 1976. He then attended Chowan Junior College in Murfreesboro, N.C., where he received an associate’s degree in Business Administration in 1977. He later journeyed to Morgantown, West Virginia, graduating in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Holmes has done further studies towards an M.B.A. degree at Long Island University and Hampton University.

During his NFL playing career, Holmes enjoyed success with three NFL teams, including the New York Jets (1980-83 and 1986-87), the Detroit Lions (1988-89) and the Green Bay Packers (1990-91). He later was a two-time all-star selectee during a two-year stint in the USFL with the Pittsburgh Maulers (1984) and the New Jersey Generals (1985).

Dr. Harvey called Holmes “the ideal man” to replace Taylor at the helm of the HU Pirates.

“Jerry Holmes, just like Coach Taylor, is a man with high morals and ingenuity on the football field. His impressive resume’ speaks for itself,” said Dr. Harvey. “When Coach Taylor told us that he was leaving, we didn’t have to look far to find a very qualified replacement. That individual was on the staff already.”

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