TALLAHASSEE, FL (Jan.11) - The Florida A&M University Department of Athletics announced today that Earl Holmes has been selected as the new head football coach. Holmes, a FAMU graduate and All-American in his playing days with the Rattlers, has served as defensive coordinator the last two years and acting head coach for the final two games of the 2012 season, guiding the program's day-to-day operations thereafter.
Holmes' proposed multi-year contract, which offers him an annual salary of $200,000 over the next four years, must be approved by the FAMU Board of Trustees.
FAMU director of athletics, Derek Horne, is very pleased that the process was done in an expeditious manner, resulting in a thorough vetting of the candidates by a cross-section of constituents.
"We are excited about the new era of FAMU football under the leadership of Earl. He has done an awesome job of transitioning immediately to acting coach and maintaining the program through this crucial recruiting period," Horne said. "We look forward to his dedicated efforts in this next level of leadership."
FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson said, "I believe we have selected the right coach to lead Rattler football. I am impressed with his plan to develop the whole person, not just the student's athletic ability. Coach Holmes is a solid choice when you consider his vision for the program, 10-year- career in the NFL as a linebacker and experience gained at FAMU as a defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. I look forward to the launch and achievements of the Earl Holmes era. I look forward to presenting this appointment to the Board of Trustees for consideration."
Holmes is overwhelmed with the reality of leading the Rattlers. " I am truly humbled," said Holmes. "First, I would like to thank God, because he continues to prove that he is able to make dreams come true. I want to thank Coach Joe Taylor for his mentorship and having the confidence in me to bring me back to FAMU as a part of the coaching staff. I also want to thank everyone from President Robinson, athletic director Horne, the entire athletic staff, the search committee and everyone who has offered encouragement to me in the pursuit of me being in this position today. There is no one you could have selected that will work harder to return FAMU football to the prominence it deserves than I am dedicated to doing."
Holmes, affectionately known as "The Hitman" in his playing days at FAMU, played from 1992-1995, leaving with several school records including most career tackles. He captured NCAA DI-AA and Sheridan Broadcasting All-American honors in 1994 and 1995. He was named Sheridan Broadcasting Network and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 1995.
A three-time first team All-MEAC selection, Holmes was a devastating tackler while at FAMU, completing his career with 509 total tackles, 309 solo takedowns and 200 assisted tackles - all Rattler career records. His 1995 senior season totals shattered all existing school marks for season solo tackles (103) and total tackles (171), highlighted by a spectacular one-man demolition derby performance against Southern University in Atlanta on November 4, when he totaled 30 tackles against the Jaguars.
Following his collegiate career, Holmes was drafted in the fourth round of the 1996 National Football League drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He played 10 seasons in the NFL as linebacker, six with Pittsburgh (1996- 2001), one season with the Cleveland Browns (2002) and three with the Detroit Lions (2003-2005) before retiring.
Holmes is married to the former Tiffany Bell and they have one child, Earl Jr.
"I would like to thank the head football coach selection committee that worked through the holidays to maintain the strict timeline I charged them with," said Horne. "We appreciate each one of them and commend committee chairman, Dr. Ebenezer Oriaku, and the entire committee for their service this effort."
"With our football program in place, it's now time for our Rattler fans to put 100-percent support behind Coach Holmes, the athletic department and the university to bring the environment back to the great days past and even better days ahead," Horne concluded.