Florida A&M coach: Game at USF 'very likely'
PALM HARBOR -- Nothing can happen until Florida A&M hires an athletic director, but Rattlers football coach Joe Taylor said Thursday that he expects his team to return to Tampa to play at USF in 2011.
"It's very likely that you're going to see that happen," Taylor said while attending the Black Coaches and Administrators national convention at Innisbrook. "Don't be surprised."
Taylor said the two schools have been in contact, even though FAMU hasn't had a permanent athletic director since Bill Hayes resigned Dec. 31. Last summer, assistant athletic director Alvin Hollins Jr. -- who is no longer at Florida A&M -- said "the only thing we haven't done is sign the contract."
When Florida A&M played the Bulls in Tampa in 2005, the game drew 43,122, then the second-largest home crowd to see USF play. The next year, the Bulls' I-AA opponent, McNeese State, drew just 26,351, so both sides benefit from a stronger crowd for what is an otherwise insignificant game -- USF beat FAMU 37-3.
"It's good for a lot of reasons," Taylor said. "It's a great barometer for us to see where we are. Normally, there's a revenue opportunity there, and then the exposure. I think it's win-win."
USF does not comment on future football scheduling, though the Bulls do have an opening for a home I-AA game in 2011-12. FAMU plays at Miami this season, but has no contract to play the Hurricanes in 2011 or 2012, Taylor said.
Taylor said he likes new USF coach Skip Holtz and has been a fan of the Holtz family since 1977, when as a young coach he drove from Washington, D.C., to New Jersey to hear Holtz's father, Lou, speak at a coaching convention.
"I drove up because I knew he was speaking," he said. "I still have some of those notes."