Joe Taylor, former Hampton University head coach, elected to College Football Hall of Fame

Posted at 3:28 PM, Jan 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-07 15:28:09-05

Coach Joe Taylor (Courtesy: Hampton University)

NEW YORK – Joe Taylor, a long-time fixture on the Hampton University sidelines as head coach, was announced today as a member of the 2019 College Football Hall of Fame Class.  The announcement was done this morning at Levi’s Stadium in conjunction with tonight’s College Football Playoff National Championship game.

The ceremony will take place in New York City on December 10 at the National Football Foundation Awards Dinner.

“It gives me great joy to congratulate Coach Joe Taylor for his impending induction into the College Football Hall of Fame,” said Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey.  His numbers speak for themselves, while his leadership as we made the transition from NCAA Division II to Division I and the FCS helped guide the program into a new era.”

Joining him in the 2019 class as players are: Terrell Buckley (DB/Florida State/1989-91), Rickey Dixon (DB?Oklahoma/1984-87), London Fletcher (LB/John Carroll/1995-97), Jacob Green (DL/Texas A&M/1977-79), Torry Holt (WR/N.C. State/1995-98), Raghib Ismail (WR-KR/Notre Dame/1988-90), Darren McFadden (RB/Arkansas/2005-07), Jake Plummer (QB/Arizona St./1993-96), Troy Polamalu (DB/Southern California/1999-2002), Joe Thomas (OL/Wisconsin/2003-06), Lorenzo White (RB/Michigan St./1984-87), Patrick Willis (LB/Mississippi/2003-06), Vince Young (QB/Texas/2003-05)

Two coaches were picked for induction:

  • DENNIS ERICKSON – 179-96-1 (65.0%); Idaho (1982-85, 2006), Wyoming (1986), Washington State (1987-88), Miami [FL] (1989-94), Oregon State (1999-2002), Arizona State (2007-11)
  • JOE TAYLOR – 233-96-4 (70.6%); Howard (1983), Virginia Union (1984-91), Hampton (1992-2007), Florida A&M (2008-12)

The all-time winningest coach in Pirate football history, Taylor compiled an impressive 233 wins overall during his standout 30-year career. His remarkable 70.6 winning percentage ranks in the top 10 in FCS coaching history.

After one season as the head coach at Howard, Taylor came down Interstate 64 and took over the program at Virginia Union, where he won 60 games in eight seasons. His best season with the Panthers was in 1986 when he guided the team to the CIAA title, an 11-1 record and a trip to the NCAA Division II Playoffs. Taylor also guided Virginia Union to the playoffs during a 10-2 season in 1990 and an 8-3 season in 1991.

Taylor shined during his tenure as Hampton’s head coach from 1992-2007, posting a school record 136 wins while leading the Pirates to four SBN Black College National Championships. Hampton played at the NCAA Division II level his first three seasons, earning two Division II playoff appearances, including the school’s first-ever NCAA playoff win. Taylor guided the Pirates to CIAA titles in all three of those seasons and the first of his four Black College National Championships in 1994. After moving to the FCS in 1995, his Hampton teams would win three more Black College National Championships and five MEAC titles while making five FCS Playoff appearances. The four-time MEAC Coach of the Year owns eight of the top 10 winningest seasons in Pirate history, including the top six. Taylor also guided Hampton to a win in the 1999 Heritage Bowl over Southern, and he coached three NFF National Scholar-Athletes during his time at the school: Timothy Benson (1993), Malcolm Benson (1995) and Michael Bland (2000).

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. Arguably, his best season with the Rattlers came in 2010 when the team went 8-3 and claimed a share of the MEAC title.

At the time of his retirement, Taylor’s 233 career wins were tied for the third most among coaches at historically black colleges and universities. Over his entire 30-year career, he coached 68 First Team All-Americans, 142 first team all-conference players and one First Team Academic All-American.

Head Coach Bob Stoops of the Oklahoma Sooners, left, and Head Coach Joe Taylor of the Florida A&M Rattlers. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)

A former president of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), Taylor also served on the FCS All-American Selection Committee and the advisory board of the Black Coaches Association. He has received lifetime achievement awards from the AFCA/FCA and the All-American Football Foundation, and he is enshrined in the Virginia Union Athletics, Western Illinois Athletics, CIAA and MEAC halls of fame.

A graduate of Western Illinois University, Taylor played offensive line for the Leathernecks under College Football Hall of Fame Coach Darrell Mudra. He began his coaching career as an assistant at Howard D. Woodson High School in his hometown of Washington, D.C., from 1972-77. Before his first head-coaching job, Taylor also served as an assistant coach at Eastern Illinois (where he helped earn the 1978 NCAA Division II national title), Virginia Union and Howard. Since December 2013, he has served as the athletics director at Virginia Union.

The 2019 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be officially inducted during the 62nd National Football Foundation Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 10, 2019, at the New York Hilton Midtown. The inductees will also be recognized at their respective collegiate institutions with NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes, presented by Fidelity Investments, during the fall. Their accomplishments will be forever immortalized at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.


  • Including the 2019 Hall of Fame class, only 1,010 players and 219 coaches have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame from the nearly 33 million who have played or coached the game during the past 150 years. In other words, less than two one-hundredths of a percent (.02%) of the individuals who have played the game have been deemed worthy of this distinction.
  • Founded in 1947, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame inducted its first class of inductees in 1951. The first class included 32 players and 22 coaches, including Illinois’ Red Grange, Notre Dame’s Knute Rockne, Amos Alonzo Stagg and Carlisle (PA)’s Jim Thorpe.
  • 311 schools are represented with at least one College Football Hall of Famer.
  • Induction for this class of Hall of Famers will take place December 10, 2019, during the 62nd NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the New York Hilton Midtown.