TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- With football season around the corner, the community is celebrating Florida A&M University athletics. FAMU's new head coach, Willie Simmons, tells us what he's hoping to bring to the table.
"Hoping to bring the winning ways back to Florida A&M. We have one of the most storied traditions in all of college football. We kind of lost our way the last few years so for me, it's about bringing that back," said Coach Willie Simmons.
Coach Simmons says he's determined to lead his team, and passionate FAMU fans, to victory this football season."It's starts everyday with how we work, with how we prepare, and how we represent this fine institution."
"We've been grinding day in and day out. And, you know, the time is finally here and we're more than excited to have a great season and give the people what they want," said Ryan Stanley, the quarterback.
Long-time fans say, it's been seven years since their beloved Rattlers won a national championship. With a new football coach stepping in, there's a new level of enthusiasm for this season. "I'm a big fan of the rattlers. I'm looking forward to this season with Willie and the gang," said Curtis Pride.
School spirit like this isn't easy to come by. The FAMU community came out in full force. They say they want to support the athletes and get them hyped for this upcoming football season. That's what Thursday's community kick-off celebration was all about. The event was hosted by Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor and the Capital City Chamber of Commerce.
And if you ask any Rattlers fan, a football game wouldn't be the same without the Marching 100. "People come from so far to see the band play and just to enjoy the atmosphere that we bring. I think it's a lot of pride that goes into what we do," said Timothy Griffin, a band member. Coach Simmons and his players say they can always count on the Marching 100 to keep the team positive and energetic.
FAMU's marching 100 was invited to play at the 2019 Rose Bowl Parade. They're asking for community support to raise funds to send the band to Pasadena. Visit their website for more information: https://my.famu.edu/giving/tor