Nearly a month after Willie Simmons left the program for Duke, the school named assistant James Colzie the school’s 19th head coach.
He was the Rattlers interim head coach after Simmons’ departure. The search ended what was a tumultuous and intense process that put Athletics Director Tiffani-Dawn Sykes under fire by school stakeholders after it was reported she had considered Fort Valley State coach Shawn Gibbs for the position.
Florida A&M assembled a search committee and sought a search firm to assist with the process.
“I am thrilled to announce Coach James Colzie Ill as our new head football coach,” Sykes said in a statement. “Coach Colzie’s dedication as interim head coach and now as our permanent leader exemplifies his commitment to excellence.”
Colzie has worked in football for more than two decades and has been part of three national championship teams. He was a cornerback on Florida State’s first national championship team in 1993. Colzie was previously head coach at Saint Mary’s University in Canada, where he went 23-19.
James Colzie III has been named the 19th head football coach at Florida A&M.
Colzie has been part of a FAMU defense that has ranked among the nation’s best during his first two seasons.
He was the preferred choice of current FAMU players and many alums. A letter written by players to the school’s administration outlined that Colzie should be retained to maintain “continuity and stability” within the football program.
“Coach Colzie has earned the respect of our entire team and coaching staff and will provide the needed continuity and stability to keep our championship program headed on its current trajectory,” the letter said. “Further, Coach Colzie has proven himself as a recruiter and has the head coaching experience necessary to provide a seamless transition from the phenomenal Willie Simmons Era of Rattler Football into the foreseeable future. Coach Colzie is the right man, at this juncture, to lead our program to even greater heights.“
Said Colzie about being named coach:
“I am eternally grateful to [FAMU] President Dr. Robinson and our Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Tiffani-Dawn Sykes for their confidence in me,” Colzie said.