ESPN's Adam Rittenberg gave an exhaustive list of 45 minority coaches under 45 with futures in Division 1 for head coaching jobs.
Rittenberg listed four HBCU coaches as future candidates for FBS openings. I agree with his entrees. Still, I felt he didn't mention one rising star in the report. The coach is Alabama A&M's assistant head coach and offensive coordinator, Duane Taylor.
Florida reporter Allison Posey states, "almost half of the FBS D1 schools have never hired a black head coach to lead a football program." A definitive problem in 2022. Here are five young and talented HBCU coaches who could solve the FBS' minority head coaching problems.
The top four coaches are from Rittenberg and one HBCU Legends inclusion:
1. Willie Simmons, Florida A&M (Head Coach) - Age 41
Coach Simmons is frequently regarded as one of the best HBCU college head coaches. He may be "primed" to rise the ranks, especially if FAMU can vanquish Jackson State in the Orange Blossom Classic and take an early lead in the SWAC Eastern Division.
I watched coach from the sidelines at their FCS playoff loss to SLU in Hammond, LA. He kept his guys composed and still fighting until the final gun. Should Willie Simmons claim the 2022 SWAC title and Celebration Bowl Championship, he may have his coaching options for 2023.
Simmons told Tallahassee's ABC affiliate, "We know there's a shortage of minority head coaches at the Division 1 level. So, we want to continue to push that and drive that."
Added a Power 5 athletic director: "I can definitely see him as a Group of 5 head coach as a next step." Adam Rittenberg
2. Tremaine Jackson, Valdosta State (Head Coach) - Age 38
Tremaine Jackson will build a solid program at Valdosta State after two seasons with Colorado Mesa University. Jackson turned CMU around as his offense and defense were nationally ranked in the top twenty.
His former SWAC root grew from being a defensive lineman to defensive coordinator at Texas Southern. Jackson is a defensive guru and is someone to watch in the Gulf South Conference..
He went 10-3 as Colorado Mesa's coach after successful assistant stops at Abilene Christian, where he served as defensive coordinator, University of Sioux Falls and Texas Southern. Jackson has ample experience in Texas but has worked in other regions. Adam Rittenberg
3. Jonathan Saxon, South Carolina State (Defensive Coordinator, Linebackers Coach) - Age 33
The Bulldogs' defensive coordinator coached and mentored Los Angeles Rams defensive back Decobie Durant.
Saxon is a fundamentally sound but also aggressive defensive coach. His defense led the charge for the Bulldogs' late run in the MEAC to claim the division title. SCS wasn't afraid of Jackson State in the Celebration Bowl and forced Tigers quarterback Shedeur Sanders into making several errors.
South Carolina State shut down Sanders' Jackson State team in the 2021 Celebration Bowl, surrendering only 10 points and 194 yards. ESPN
4. Antone' Sewell, Morgan State (Assistant Head Coach, Defensive Coordinator) - Age 42
Sewell rejoins Damon Wilson's staff at Morgan State after initially accepting the coordinator's role at Alabama State. Last season at Bowie State, his defense stifled opponents and surrendered "under 14 points per game" en route to the Bulldogs claiming its third-consecutive CIAA Championship.
He evolved from a CIAA player to a SWAC assistant coach at Prairie View A&M, and back to the CIAA as a high-achieving assistant, and now terrorizing MEAC rivals. The challenge of turning around the Morgan State program is daunting but not out of the question with Sewell's defenses unleashed in the MEAC.
He made his biggest mark at Division II Bowie State, his alma mater, where he generated championship-level defenses that thrived with sacks and takeaways. Adam Rittenberg
5. Duane Taylor, Alabama A&M (Assistant Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator) - Age 40
Duane Taylor's offensive foundation began as a quarterback in college at Fayetteville State, where he "held 25 school records and led back-to-back CIAA Championship in 2002-03." He's had successful stints at Winston-Salem State (wide receivers), Fayetteville State (offensive coordinator), Hampton (wide receivers, offensive coordinator), and currently with Alabama A&M(assistant head coach, offensive coordinator).
The Bulldogs' offense and players have excelled from Taylor's offensive play-calling. Former AAMU's stellar quarterback Aqeel Glass was a two-time SWAC Offensive Player of the Year and Black College Player of the Year award recipient.
In 2021, Taylor's offense's FCS rankings were No. 4 in passing offense, No. 7 in total offense, and No. 7 in scoring.
The 2022 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl game featured Taylor as an assistant head coach and offensive coordinator for the American Team. To credit him and Aqeel Glass, the American squad led until the defense gave up a late touchdown, and their kicker missed a game-winning field goal in the final seconds.
All five coaches are outstanding candidates for future head coaching gigs. Will those opportunities exist in the FBS or FCS?
We shall see.