"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. "With me it has always been about the student-athletes not me. I want to thank FAMU for the opportunity they gave me to finish out my coaching career here at this fine institution. I wish them well in their future endeavors."
"Coach Taylor and I both decided it was best for him to step aside, so that the team can focus on the last two games of the season," said FAMU Athletic Director Derek Horne. "We want to thank Coach Taylor for his years of service here at FAMU and wish him the best in his future endeavors."
Horne also stated that Taylor would transition into a role of advising the athletic department on improving the overall football operations until the end of his contract in January of 2013. FAMU alumnus and defensive coordinator Earl Holmes will take on the day-to-day operations of the Rattler football program.
"I want to thank Coach Joe Taylor again for all of his support of the university through the football program," said FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson. "He has had enormous success as a coach. He has helped many athletes to create a balance between their academic progression and what is required to create a successful program. With this recent development, we must complete the last two games of the season without him. We know that it will not be easy for our student athletes, but I'm encouraging them to work with the new leadership and continue to perform at their highest level."
Taylor finishes his illustrious coaching career with 233-96-4, tying him with former Southern University Coach Arnett "Ace" Mumford and placing him third among historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) coaches in career wins. Ahead of Taylor is John "Big John" Merritt of Tennessee State with 235 career wins, who ranks second. Eddie Robinson leads the list of HBCU coaches with 408 career wins.
In five seasons at FAMU, Taylor compiled a 35-19 record, tying legendary coach Alonzo S. "Jake" Gaither with nine wins in his first season as head coach, the third most wins in school history. He surpassed Gaither, after the 2010 season, as the Rattlers went 8-3 and winning a share of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championship (MEAC) with Bethune-Cookman and South Carolina State, becoming the first coach in school history to record 25 wins in his first three seasons.
Taylor, in his first season as head coach of the Rattlers, led FAMU to a 9-3 season in 2008, after the Rattlers finished the previous season 3-8 in 2007. In 2009 and 2010, Taylor led the Rattlers to back-to-back 8-3 seasons as the Rattlers reeled off six straight wins and knocked off an undefeated Bethune-Cookman team in the annual 31st Florida Blue Florida Classic at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla., in 2010.
His 2009 team produced the MEAC Offensive Player of the Year in Curtis Pulley and the Division I FCS All-Time Punt Returner for TDs in LeRoy Vann, who finished his career with eight (8) TD runbacks, surpassing Kenny Shedd (1989-92) of University of Northern Iowa, while tying the NCAA single season TD punt return record with five (5) set by North Carolina A&T's Curtis DeLoatch in 2001. He also finished his career with 11 total TDs on kick returns, including the three (3) on kickoffs he tallied in 2008.
A man of great faith, Taylor has been the mentor to several young coaches who have joined the ranks during his career. Well respected in the athletics community, Taylor has graduated more than 60 players in the first four years at FAMU. Coaching the Rattlers through their NCAA probation, Taylor managed to find success off the field, recruiting athletes that would win FAMU the NCAA award for biggest APR improvement in the MEAC in 2009.
Taylor departs with an impressive resume of accolades. He has won four Black College National Championships, graduated hundreds of athletes over his 40-year career, sent several players to the professional ranks and most importantly has helped influence the lives of thousands of productive citizens.