The Rise of Florida A&M Football: From SWAC Championships to Coaching Success

The Rise of Florida A&M Football: From SWAC Championships to Coaching Success

Florida A&M has garnered attention in the football world over the past few years, establishing themselves as a dominant force in the Football Championship Subdivision and HBCU levels.

The Rattlers' recent success includes winning the Southwestern Athletic Conference and the Celebration Bowl, claiming their 17th Black College Football National Championship, and finishing the 2023 season ranked 10th in the FCS Coaches Poll.

This success has led to players finding opportunities through the NCAA Transfer Portal and coaches progressing in their careers.

Former head coach Willie Simmons departed after five years at FAMU to become the running backs coach for the Duke Blue Devils, leaving behind a legacy of two national titles and a strong coaching foundation.

Simmons is now an assistant at Duke, helping to coach running backs, special teams, and recruit players nationwide, with aspirations of becoming a Power Four head coach in the future.

FAMU has also seen former assistant coaches like Chili Davis and Devin Rispress move on to new opportunities after contributing to the program's success.

Davis, who led one of the top special teams units at FAMU, is now an assistant special teams coach for the Los Angeles Rams, reuniting with former FAMU standout Xavier Smith.

Rispress, the former recruiting director at FAMU, has joined Deion Sanders' staff at Colorado as the assistant director of player personnel and high school relations.

Both Davis and Rispress credit FAMU for preparing them for their current roles and helping them advance in their coaching careers.

The impact of FAMU can be seen in the success of various former assistant coaches who have moved on to coaching positions at other universities and in the NFL, showcasing the quality of coaching and program at FAMU.

Simmons takes pride in seeing his former assistants succeed and move up the coaching ladder, attributing their achievements to the quality of the program and coaches at FAMU.

Overall, FAMU continues to be a breeding ground for coaching talent and a place where dreams can be realized, providing opportunities for players and coaches to excel in the world of football.


* = Neutral Site

Gerald Thomas, III covers Florida A&M University Athletics for the Tallahassee Democrat. Contact him via email at [email protected] or on the app formerly known as Twitter @3peatgee.

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