The State of FAMU Rattlers Football

“Everybody’s got opinions, ‘bout the way they think our story’s gonna end” Music legend Anita canada goose outlet uk sale Baker, “Giving You the Best that I Got,” circa ’89.

Tomorrow, October 6th, marks 35 years since Florida A University, fresh off of winning the NCAA Division 1 AA National Championship the previous season, defeated the Miami Hurricanes 16 13 in Tallahassee, Florida.

With each loss, the despair grows deeper among Rattler Nation, one that is used to canada goose factory sale canada goose jacket outlet being among the elite of Black College cheap canada goose football. One that has won 13 combined Black College, AP Small College and NCAA National Championships since 1938 according to Eddie Jackson, the retired FAMU Vice President for Communications whose book “Coaching Against The Wind: National canada goose outlet sale Championship Seasons of the Florida A University Rattlers” is the seminal work on the uk canada goose subject.

With each loss, the crowds at Bragg Stadium, once the most raucous and rocking among all of FCS (1 AA) football, get even sparser.

With each loss, as Anita Baker once sang, the opinions of the faithful grow more pronounced, more irate and ultimately, more focused upon “fixing” that which ails the same.

Being irate, mind you, is a useful emotion if channeled constructively. But as of late, the irate faithful have been singularly focused on seeking the firing of Earl Holmes, who is in his second full year as head coach after taking over on an interim basis following the resignation of Coach Joe Taylor in 2012.

As many folks know, each Saturday during the fall I take a break from my usual blogs and articles on Facebook about politics and social issues to enjoy my favorite game football. And anyone who knows me will attest that I am a fanatic about the football team at my three alma maters, which are Morehouse College, FAMU and canada goose outlet toronto factory the University of Florida. While Morehouse does not have a storied football tradition, my other two alma maters most certainly do, which has made the struggles of both the Rattlers and the Gators a sore spot for me the past two years.

Because of that, I have had many folks send me inbox messages, text messages and the like asking how I can call for Gators Coach Will Muschamp’s firing one minute, while standing solidly behind Rattlers Coach Earl Holmes. The simple answer in full disclosure is this: I have been friends with Holmes since childhood where we both grew up playing everything from sports to spades on Tallahassee’s Southside and in time, matriculated at FAMU High together as proud Baby Rattlers. We were members of the Kappa League, a mentoring group of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, Incorporated in the 80’s and we both pledged Kappa Alpha Psi in the 90’s. As such, I have a personal tie and loyalty to him and more crucially, faith that he can still get the job done if given time faith I simply don’t have in Muschamp.

Further, and more crucially, Muschamp is the head coach of THE Flagship university in Florida; one with unlimited financial resources and influence in state government that should never fail. UF’s facilities are state of the art, its stadium, even during the leanest years, is still filled almost to capacity even for “gimme” games, or in last year’s loss to Georgia Southern, even the not so gimme games are televised and result in six or seven figure paydays.

UF plays in the SEC, the most dominant conference in the sport the last decade, one that has won seven of the last eight BCS national championships. In 2013, according to Forbes Magazine, the SEC split nearly 300 million dollars in revenue among its 14 member institutions. As such, Muschamp has zero excuses for not being able to mine the talent rich Florida, Georgia canada goose outlet canada and Alabama recruiting grounds to field a consistent winner.

Holmes, on the contrary, has no such luxuries. When he inherited the program, it was on NCAA academic probation for academics, a factor that limits how many hours his team can practice each week and canada goose outlet nyc prepare. Bragg Stadium, once the buy canada goose jacket standard bearer in Black College ball, has not been renovated since 1981 I was in fourth grade and Earl was in third. The Gallimore Powell Fieldhouse, state of the art when it opened during the early 80’s, is dilapidated and in needof repairs.

Simply stated, what ails FAMU football, much like many buy canada goose jacket cheap storied HBCU programs like Grambling canada goose canada goose outlet outlet and Southern, is money Money for facilities, including expansive weight rooms, is a must. Money for athletics dorms and expanded training tables Canada Goose Outlet to feed the players is a must. Money for full time liaisons who can assist with identifying talented recruits who are being coached by FAMU grads and supporters across the state is a must. Why? Because the best players at schools in FAMU’s division will go where they receive the most contact, or “love” as I often read on the Rivals website, and where they can have the most creature comforts achieve these ends, there are some extremely talented folks working indefatigably to canada goose clearance raise money for the school. New President Elmira Mangum and Athletics Director Kellen Winslow both have hit the ground running seeking dollars to ameliorate these very issues. Angela Adams Suggs, a canada goose uk black friday schoolmate of mine and Holmes at FAMU High and FAMU, is steadily on the grind seeking financial support and partnerships from businesses across the country while also creating innovative ways to inspire the faithful to return to Bragg, such as the luxury box styled tents that provide great food and drinks for those who partake.

Another FAMU High/FAMU canada goose outlet uk schoolmate, Vaughn Wilson, provides the best up to the minute sports updates and pictures in Black College football in my estimation. And yet another FAMU High/FAMU schoolmate of ours, Cecka Rose Green, has ignited a firestorm of donations this past summer with her “10 canada goose outlet store for 10” campaign that if replicated among the Rattlers sports faithful, could turn into an annual cash cow similar to how Clemson University’s successful “IPTAY” or “I pay ten a canada goose outlet store uk year program” has for decades.

But the fact still remains that in an era in which fans want wins and want them now Holmes finds himself squarely on the hot seat. What most who do not know him personally do not realize is that no one wants to win as badly as he wants to win. The same determination and drive that drove him to become arguably the fiercest Rattler linebacker in school history and a dominant player for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Detroit Lions, burns deeply within him now despite the fact that his team’s on field results have not come close to his high standards.

Having spoken with him before yesterday’s loss, I know that the lessons we learned years ago while pledging our heads being bloodied but unbowed canada goose uk shop to guide him as he seeks to give his alma mater, his players and yes, us, the faithful, the best that he’s got. Because of that, I will not be among the canada goose black friday sale chorus of those calling for his resignation or his firing because deep within my heart I know that until the concerns as far as infrastructure are addressed, even if legendary Coach Jake Gaither returned from the grave to don the headsets, the on field results would be the same or very similar. To that end, we all have our work cut out to ensure that the Rattler football program accelerates its peregrination from the preferred homecoming opponent of our rivals back to being the most feared team on their schedules.

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