With Saturday’s win against Hampton University, Coach Billy Joe won his 234th career game. Making him the 2nd winningest coach all-time amongst black college coaches, behind the great Eddie Robinson of Grambling State who finished his career with 408 career wins.
It was also Joe’s 83rd career win since being at FAMU, tying him with Rudy Hubbard for 2nd on the career wins list in FAMU football history, behind Jake Gaither.
Guess how many people actually knew that before reading this article? Outside of the athletic department, my guess is probably not too many.
To be honest, you could probably bet money that more than half of the student body doesn’t know who Joe is.
The point to be made here is that the head football coach for FAMU is under appreciated.
Since the two years that I have been here, no one talks, mentions or thinks about the job that Joe does year in and year out.
Last year and throughout this year, the football team has been decimated by injuries, but he makes no excuses for his teams’ performance.
The move to Division-1A at the end of the summer contributed to the loss of about 17 players, eight of them were going to be starters coming into the season. The move essentially left Joe out to dry, but he made no excuses.
On the offensive side of the ball, he has three freshmen starting at the center and tackle positions. His starting quarterback, Ben Dougherty, was third on the depth charter before the move Division I-A robbed him of his first and second string quarterbacks.
But somehow, someway Joe and the Rattler football team have been able to muster up a 6-4 record.
What is most fascinating about what he has done with his football this year is that they have a winning record at a time when the program maybe at its lowest point ever.
Joe took over a team that had a losing record the year before he arrived at FAMU what year was that?. Since he has been here, they have not had a season where they finished less than .500.
Assistant coaches do not undermine his authority and players go out on the limb for him every time they step out on the field. But if he stepped off the field and walked around campus for a day, many people would think he was just a regular faculty member.
But perhaps that’s the way Joe would prefer it to be. He gives his players and coaches all the credit for his success. He doesn’t ask for the spotlight or to be glorified. He is maybe the most humble and genuine man a person could ever meet. It’s a shame that his accomplishments go unheralded.
Travon McCall, 20, is a junior broadcast journalism student from Clinton, Md. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org