Rudy Hubbard makes history — again

Rudy Hubbard. Photo courtesy

Rudy Hubbard earlier this week become only the fourth Rattler coach to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Hubbard had his most successful seasons as a Rattler in 1977-79. He accumulated a record of 83-48-3 in his career at FAMU.

Hubbard grew up in a small town outside of Youngstown, Ohio. He attended Ohio State University where he played running back.

Shortly after graduating Hubbard was hired as an assistant coach to the legendary Woody Hayes at his alma mater. Hubbard was the first African-American coach at Ohio State.

He then transitioned to be FAMU’s head coach in 1974.

“Coach Hubbard brought the process of how major colleges run football programs to FAMU,” said Vaughn Wilson, an All-American punter under Hubbard and a former athletic administratorat FAMU. “In essence I feel like he helped all of Black colleges. After FAMU became so dominant, other HBCUs emulated his methods.”

Wilson added: “He was also just a master recruiter. He brought excellent athletes that could’ve played anywhere in the country.”

In 1977 the Rattlers accomplished a perfect season with a record of 11-0. Also, in 1977 and 1978 Hubbard led the football team to back to back Black College Football national championships and conference titles.

According to a FAMU press release, one year after winning the national title, Hubbard’s Rattlers claimed another milestone when they defeated University of Miami, 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.

“Even though I didn’t get to experience his time here at FAMU, I know that this is a milestone and achievement not only for him but for the entire university,” said Jeremiah McCollum, a former Student Athlete Advisory Committee vice-president and star baseball pitcher at FAMU. “I know he brought a winning culture and attitude to FAMU not just for the football program, but for FAMU athletics and FAMU as a university. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the privilege of watching him coach, although I do know his monumental contributions to Florida A&M University. Every time I walk into the field house, I’m reminded of his greatness.”

Among all HBCU coaches, Hubbard is the only coach to win a Division I-AA national title. In terms of wins at FAMU, he trails only the legendary Jake Gaither (206) and Billy Joe (86). Hubbard stacked up 83 in his 12 seasons at FAMU.

Hubbard is now retired and living in the Bradenton area. He is working on a book with his son. His book explains his techniques used to master the art of winning. He will be officially inducted during the 63rd NFF Annual Awards Dinner in New York on Dec. 7, 2021.