Joe Taylor will not coach in Florida A&M’s homecoming game Saturday. Defensive coordinator Earl Homes is acting head coach of the team until further notice.
Taylor, 62, announced his retirement as head coach last week but was relieved of all coaching duties Thursday. Taylor said he wanted to retire immediately because he did not want his retirement to be a distraction to the team in its last two games.
“With the enormous amount of coverage that my retirement has been receiving, I felt it was best to step aside and let the team focus on the last two games,” Taylor said, according to a release by FAMU Sports Information.
Taylor said, in an earlier interview, that it has been “a Hall of Fame coaching career.”
This year was his first losing season since coaching Howard University in the late ’80s. Taylor’s streak of 25 winning seasons has come to an end. He will retire with an overall record of 233-96-4.
Taylor made several stops along his coaching career before coming to FAMU, including Howard, Virginia Union University and Hampton University.
Taylor is one of the winningest coaches in black college football and Football Championship Subdivision history. He won four Black College National Football Championships, four Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) National Championships and six MEAC Championships in his illustrious coaching career.
Taylor had a 35-19 record at FAMU. He led the Rattlers to back-to-back, eight-win seasons and a share of the MEAC Championship in 2010. Taylor helped FAMU extensively in recruiting.
FAMU won the NCAA award for biggest Academic Progress Rate (APR) improvement in 2009, largely because of better recruiting.
Taylor’s retirement comes as a shock to players, like senior running back Eddie Rocker. Rocker, a fourth-year criminal justice student from Ocala, was given a scholarship from Taylor four years ago.
“It would’ve been special for us to close out the remainder of the season with coach Taylor, but he taught us that we have to deal with situations like men, regardless of whether we have control of them or not,” Rocker said. “We still have the same team.”
Senior wide receiver Lenworth Lennon said he wishes that the team could have sent Taylor out on a better note. However, he also said that Taylor’s retirement has given the team a spark.
Taylor will take on an advising role in the athletic department until his contract expires Jan. 4 . He will help to oversee football operations for FAMU.