SportsReigning HBCU football champion coach accepts Power 5 job

Reigning HBCU football champion coach accepts Power 5 job

Willie Simmons, head coach of the 2023 HBCU football national champion Florida A&M Rattlers, has accepted a new job at a Power 5 conference school.
On Jan. 1, it was announced Simmons accepted an offer to become the running backs coach at Duke. At FAMU, Simmons had an annual salary of $300,000 and he received $135,000 in bonuses in 2023 after winning the Celebration Bowl for a $100,000 bump.FAMU alumni raised six figures for the coach to stay, according to HBCUGameday, but the efforts weren’t enough to keep him in Tallahassee.In the days leading up to the decision, rapper Piles added his input on X.
“If Y’all Don’t Believe FAMU Has Money Y’all Nutz!!!” Plies posted. “But What They Choose To Do With It Is A Whole Nother Story!!! FAMU Can Pay Whoever They Wanna Pay. They Might Have To Fundraise & Move Some Money Around But It’s Doable! Just Like Any Other Institution!”FAMU athletic director Tiffani-Dawn B. Sykes implied money wasn’t Simmons’ sole motive, however.
“Coach Simmons has been transparent about his aspirations to become a Power 5 head football coach,” Sykes wrote in an official statement, “and I am thrilled that he has been offered an opportunity to take a significant step toward achieving that goal … I want to thank Coach Simmons for his dedication and hard work during his time at Florida A&M University, and I look forward to watching his continued success at Duke University.”
James Colzie III, FAMU’s assistant head coach, has been named the program’s interim head coach.
The coaching pool is on fire in the HBCU market, as former Alcorn State coach Fred McNair awaits a new gig with his previously assumed Texas Southern position not being immediately solidified. Eric Dooley, who has bounced around the SWAC for the past few years, is also available.
In the market that skews toward celebrity hires, Ed Reed has been vocal about wanting another chance to lead an HBCU program and many SWAC football fans thought Grambling State fired former NFL head coach Hue Jackson too soon. Reed also publicly expressed interest in the opening at Morehouse College.
FAMU defeated Howard 30-26 on Dec. 16 at the 2023 Cricket Celebration Bowl in Atlanta to conclude a 12-1 season. The team was led by graduate quarterback and Vanderbilt transfer Jeremy Moussa. In the signing period, the Rattlers brought in many more Power 5 transfers, including former 5-star recruit and Florida State defensive back Demorie Tate.

Source: Rolling Out

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