The only man to lead an HBCU to an NCAA national championship is slated to enter the College Football Hall of Fame. Rudy Hubbard posted 83 wins in his 12 seasons at Florida A&M and becomes the fourth Rattler coach to enter the Hall.
During his tenure at Florida A&M from 1974-85, Hubbard compiled an 83-48-3 overall record, the third most wins in school history behind fellow College Football Hall of Fame Coaches Jake Gaither (203) and Billy Joe (86). The Rattlers went 6-5, 9-2 and 6-3-2 in his first three seasons. Hubbard's most successful stretch occurred from 1977-79 as the Rattlers compiled a 30-5 record, including a perfect 11-0 mark in 1977. The team won back-to-back Black College Football National Championships and conference titles in 1977 and 1978.
In 1978, Hubbard guided Florida A&M to a 12-1 record and wrapped up the season winning the inaugural NCAA Division I-AA Football Championship as the Rattlers defeated UMass, 35-28. Although a member of NCAA Division II's Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, FAMU successfully petitioned the NCAA for Division I-AA classification, which took effect right before the 1978 season began.
One year after winning the national title, Hubbard's Rattlers claimed another milestone when they defeated Miami (FL), 16-13. From 1974-78, Hubbard won five straight Orange Blossom Classics, which annually pitted Florida A&M against another HBCU. The numerous standout players he coached included College Football Hall of Famer and three-time All-America offensive guard Tyrone McGriff. Hubbard was inducted into the Florida A&M University Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.
A native of Hubbard, Ohio, he played running back at Ohio State from 1965-67. Hubbard then made history as the first Black assistant coach at Ohio State, where he served six seasons and was part of the 1968 and 1970 national championship staffs under College Football Hall of Fame Coach Woody Hayes.
2019 inductee Joe Taylor concluded his stellar coaching career at Florida A&M from 2008-12, where he became the first coach in school history to win 25 games in his first three seasons.
Hubbard ended his collegiate coaching career in 1985, but he returned to the sidelines as head coach at James S. Rickards High School in Tallahassee, Florida, from 2008-11. Now retired, he is collaborating with his son to write a how-to-book on winning, and he is involved with potentially staging an HBCU game in 2021 between rivals Kentucky State and Central State in his native Ohio.
The 11 First Team All-America players and two standout coaches in the 2021 Class were selected from the national ballot of 78 players and seven coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision and the 99 players and 33 coaches from the divisional ranks.
The 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Class will officially be inducted during the 63rd NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 7 alongside the 2020 Hall of Fame Class (the 2020 event was canceled due to COVID-19).