Coaching staffs make jobs true family affair

Whether it’s Fredo and Michael Corleone in the “Godfather” movies or the Late Notorious B.I.G in is drug dealing lesson, “The Ten Crack Commandments,”

Seven: this rule is so underrated/Keep your family and business completely separated.

The common rule is that family and business just don’t mix.

On the contrary, FAMU has chosen to mix money and blood on two coaching staffs and have not found serious trouble.

Mike Gillespie Sr., Rattler men’s head basketball coach, works alongside his son, assistant coach Mike Gillespie Jr. The two have had unprecedented success together in their three years at the University. This year, they coached the team to its second ever MEAC Conference title and its first- ever win in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament.

“It was a once in a lifetime experience,” Gillespie Sr. said “To win the MEAC tournament and then a game in the NCAA with my son, is a feeling that words cannot describe.”

Gillespie Jr. played for his father at Tallahassee Community College in 1992 and 1993. Although, he was the head coach’s son, he said he didn’t receive any preferential treatment, not starting either year he was on the team.

“He always felt he should have played more, but I played the best people,” Gillespie Sr. said “I tried to treat him like everybody else, even though he was my son.

Gillespie Jr. began working with his dad at TCC during the 1995-1996 season as an assistant coach. Gillespie Sr. said their relationship off the court helps them professionally.

“Some assistant coaches are hesitant to give suggestion,” Gillespie Jr. said “But I’ve talked to him about everything under the sun, so I speak up more.”

While at times they may have disagreements on coaching they both have their eyes on the prize.

“Our goal is to make this program the best in the country.” Gillespie Sr. said.

The goal of perfection is not missed on the gridiron either. Younger brother Jimmy Joe, assists football head coach Billy Joe.

As offensive coordinator, wide receivers coach, assistant head coach and administrative assistant, Jimmy Joe wears many hats for the Rattler football team.

The Joes began coaching together at Cheyney State University in Pennsylvania almost 30 years ago and have formed a great bond.

“It’s an excellent relationship,” Billy Joe said. “He’s highly supportive, a great football coach and (he) works well with the younger players.”

Billy Joe said he doesn’t need an assistant coach that is a “yes-man”, and Jimmy Joe isn’t afraid to challenge him on coaching decisions. “Your brother knows you a little better than the other assistants,” Billy Joe said.

Clearly understanding each other’s role, Billy Joe said he and his brother does not have difficulty separating their relationships.

“The line of demarcation isn’t fuzzy at all,” Billy Joe said “I’m the head coach and he is the assistant coach.”

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