Hampton U. coach Rose sees visiting FAMU as a model for future success

By Malik Smith

After the 1991 season, every member of Hampton University’s football staff was fired.

Except one.

Before the 1992 season, new HU head coach Joe Taylor retained only Donavan Rose. That began a relationship that will come full circle this weekend when Taylor returns to Hampton for the first time as Florida A&M’s head coach.

“It’s not personal,” said Rose, who worked 16 years as an assistant under Taylor before taking the head job at HU before this season. “It’s just business.”

Florida A&M is riding a three-game winning streak heading into Saturday’s 1 p.m. showdown at Armstrong Stadium. The Rattlers are 7-2 overall and 5-1 in the MEAC in the second year under Taylor, the winningest coach in HU history at 136-49-1 over 16 years.

The Pirates (4-5, 2-4) are looking to salvage a winning record under Rose, who is the Pirates’ third coach in three years following last year’s coach Jerry Holmes.

“We’re going to do everything possible to avoid a losing season,” said senior punter Jahmal Blanchard.

The game will match up the two best rushing attacks in the MEAC.

Florida A&M, behind quarterback Curtis Pulley’s 80.5 rushing yards per game, is averaging 178.44 yards as a team, while the Pirates average 163.5 a game.

HU’s LeMarcus Coker leads the league with 102.1 rushing yards per game, often taking direct snaps in the wildcat offense.

Rose is using Taylor’s Florida A&M program – and Taylor’s past Hampton teams – as a model for what he wants for the future at Hampton.

“I’ve seen spurts that the team is coming around,” he said. “It’s taken longer than I thought.”