The National Football Foundation (NFF) and College Football Hall of Fame announced its 2019 College Football Hall of Fame class on Monday, and it included former Hampton and Florida A&M head coaching great Joe Taylor.
The all-time winningest coach in Hampton history, Taylor compiled an impressive 233 wins overall during his standout 30-year career that spanned four schools — three of which were in the MEAC. His remarkable 70.6 winning percentage ranks in the top 10 in FCS coaching history.
After one season as head coach at Howard, Taylor 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 career, he coached 68 First Team All-Americans, 142 first team all-conference players and one First Team Academic All-American.
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, 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 inductees were selected from the national ballot of 76 All-America players and six elite coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision and the 100 players and 32 coaches from the divisional ranks.
Taylor is joined in the 2019 class by fellow coach Dennis Erickson, as well as players Terrell Buckley (Florida State), Rickey Dixon (Oklahoma), London Fletcher (John Carroll [Ohio]), Jacob Green (Texas A&M), Torry Holt (N.C. State), Raghib Ismail (Notre Dame), Darren McFadden (Arkansas), Jake Plummer (Arizona State), Troy Polamalu (USC), Joe Thomas (Wisconsin), Lorenzo White (Michigan State), Patrick Willis (Ole Miss) and Vince Young (Texas).
“We are extremely proud to announce the 2019 College Football Hall of Fame Class,” said Archie Manning, NFF Chairman and a 1989 College Football Hall of Famer from Mississippi. “Each of these men has established himself among the absolute best to have ever played or coached the game, and we look forward to immortalizing their incredible accomplishments. The Class will be part of a momentous year as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of college football this season.”
The Class of 2019 will be inducted on Dec. 10, 2019, at the 62nd NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York, N.Y.