As the HBCU community sets its sights on Atlanta for the upcoming Celebration Bowl this weekend between North Carolina A&T and Grambling, the rest of the HBCU football community has not stopped working and the coaching carousel has not stopped moving.
Willie Simmons, who coached the Prairie View A&M Panthers to a 21-11 record over three seasons, will be leaving the University to take on the position of head football coach at Florida A&M, the program’s 16th head football coach.
Simmons played quarterback for Clemson for three years and also has HBCU bloodlines, as he was a running backs coach at Middle Tennessee State and offensive coordinator at Alcorn State.
Prairie View announced his departure Saturday in a statement.
We want to thank Coach Simmons and his family for their contributions to Prairie View A&M University, said VP and Director of Athletics Ashley Robinson. He led Panther football through an exciting period with the opening of our new football stadium and helped Prairie View A&M to again become a contender in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. We wish him success in his future endeavors.
Simmons steps into a tougher position in Florida. He leaves the Panthers after they constructed a new $61 million stadium for a school which has been dealing with issues at Bragg Memorial Stadium. They haven’t upgraded the Galimore-Powell Field House in many, many years and the team hasn’t had a winning season since 2011, finishing 3-8 last season. To add insult to injury, the Rattlers haven’t won more than four games in a season since 2011.
Simmons definitely has his work cut out for him.