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Florida A&M University names new head football coach

Posted at 5:29 PM, Jan 27, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-27 18:34:55-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The Rattler football team did not have to look very far to find the team's next leader. James Colzie III will take the job nearly a month after Willie Simmons left for a job at Duke University.

  • Colzie III will become the team's 19th coach.
  • Colzie joined the Rattlers in 2022 leading cornerbacks, before becoming interim head coach following Simmons leaving the program.
  • He has a history in Tallahassee, playing under coach Bobby Bowden.

News Release

Vice President and Director of Athletics Tiffani-Dawn Sykes named James Colzie III the 19th head football coach at Florida A&M University, January 27, 2024.

“I am thrilled to announce Coach James Colzie III as our new head football coach,” said Sykes. “I extend my deepest gratitude to President Larry Robinson, the FAMU Board of Trustees, Chairwoman Kristin Harper, and the entire FAMU community for their unwavering support throughout this process. Special thanks to Renaissance Search and Consulting for their pivotal role in leading the search for our 19th head football coach. I also appreciate Dr. Donald Palm and the dedicated search committee for their commitment to completing a swift yet thorough process. Coach Colzie’s dedication as interim head coach and now as our permanent leader exemplifies his commitment to excellence.”

“I am eternally grateful to President Robinson and our Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Tiffani-Dawn Sykes for their confidence in me," said Colzie. "It’s truly an honor to join names like William Bell, Jake Gaither, Rudy Hubbard, Billy Joe, and Willie Simmons to hold the illustrious title of Head Football Coach at Florida A&M, and I am ready to do my part of carrying on the tradition of this storied university as the #1 public HBCU in the country.

“The 2023 Celebration Bowl Champions have already started the work to duplicate last season’s success. My job will be to surround these incredible young men with an outstanding coaching staff to ensure a great student-athlete experience while they are on the Highest of Seven Hills. FANGS UP!”

Colzie has worked and played for some of the best coaches in the business, including Bobby Bowden, Mickey Andrews, Romeo Crennel, Emmitt Thomas, Blake Nill, and Kevin Steele. His career has included stops at elite Division I, Division II, U-Sport, and NJCAA football programs around the Southeast, Midwest, and Canada. As a collegiate player and coach, he has been a part of four national championships and seven conference titles.

Colzie was elevated to head coach after serving as the interim head coach following the departure of Willie Simmons. Colzie joined Florida A&M ahead of the 2022 season, where he led the cornerbacks and contributed to a defense that ranked in the top 25 in six categories.

After the 2022 campaign, Colzie was promoted to assistant head coach while coaching the cornerbacks again. Leading the cornerbacks, the Rattlers saw two selected to the All-SWAC teams, Kendall Bohler and Eric Smith. Colzie was again part of one of the nation's best defenses, ranking top 25 in 12 categories. Colzie was also part of a historic Rattlers team that won its first-ever SWAC Championship and Celebration Bowl with a 12-1 record.