Joe Taylor was a standout offensive lineman at Western Illinois University from 1969-72, and began his coaching career at Howard D. Woodson High School in Washington, D.C. where he was a physical education teacher, head wrestling coach, and assistant football and baseball coach.
He began his illustrious college coaching career in 1978. The ledger:
Offensive line coach, Eastern Illinois University- 1978 NCAA Division II National Football Championship
1980: Offensive coordinator, Virginia Union University
1982:Defensive coordinator, Howard University. Taylor took over the reins at Howard in 1983 and posted a 1–9 record in his only season as head coach.
1984: head coach, Virginia Union (two years later, he led Virginia Union to an undefeated regular season, a Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship and a berth in the NCAA Division II playoffs.
1990: led Panthers to undefeated season and the Division II playoffs in 1990 and 1991. In eight years at the helm, Taylor compiled a record of 60 wins, 19 losses, and 3 ties for a .750 winning percentage.
1992: Hampton University- became head coach and led the Pirates to a undefeated regular season in 1993 and advanced to the quarterfinal round of the national playoffs (they became the first CIAA team in history to win 12 games in a season).
1994: Hampton Pirates set a new CIAA total offense record with 5,575 yards (the first CIAA team to average more than 500 yards of total offense per game)…had a 23 game winning streak against CIAA opponents. Taylor was named the College Coach of the Year in Virginia by the Portsmouth Sports Club.
1995: Hampton moved up to NCAA Division I-AA (now known as Division I FCS) and joined the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) in 1996. Taylor continued to win at the Division I-AA level and became the most successful football coach in Hampton history.
Taylor’s Hampton teams won four Black College Championships (1995, 2004, 2005 and 2006), eight conference titles (three in the CIAA and five in the MEAC), the 1999 Heritage Bowl championship, and made seven trips to the NCAA playoffs.
He was also named MEAC Coach of the Year for three straight years from 2004 – 2006.
2008: Taylor took over the football program at Florida A&M which had been in decline and led the Rattlers to a record-setting 9-3 finish – one of the best one-year turnarounds in the country (from 3-8 in 2007). He tied Hall of Fame legend A.S. “Jake” Gaither’s school record for the most wins by a first-year head coach set in 1945.
The Rattlers finished the 2009 season with an 8-3 and was ranked in several NCAA FCS Top 25 polls for the first time since 2001.
2009: Taylor had a career record of 214-82-4 (.719), ranking him third in career victories and fourth in career winning percentage among active coaches in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision and second among active head coaches at Historically Black Colleges and Universities behind College Hall of Fame legend and former FAMU coach Billy Joe (243 victories).
He also ranks seventh among head coaches at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in career victories.
Taylor is active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which encourages a player’s spiritual and character development.
He returned to Virginia Union and is presently the Athletic Director at the school.