Greene County News
WILBERFORCE — Legendary Central State University football coach William “Billy” Joe will be inducted into the Black College Football Hall of Fame.
Joe was one of six inductees selected from a list of 25 finalists who had been determined earlier by the BCFHOF Selection Committee.
Joe’s coaching career began in 1972 at Cheney University. He also spent two seasons on the pro level as an assistant coach for the Philadelphia Eagles before arriving at Central State in 1981.
It took little time for Joe to turn the Marauders into a perennial powerhouse. His 1983 team finished the regular season 10-0 and went on to a NCAA Div. II finals appearance. Joe led the Marauders to five consecutive Black College national championships from 1986 to 1990. The pinnacle of his tenure in Wilberforce came in 1990 and 1992 when his teams won the NAIA Div. I National Championship.
Joe also coached at Florida A&M from 1994 to 2004. He led the Rattlers to an unprecedented five Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference titles. After a two year hiatus from coaching, Joe accepted the head coaching position at Miles College in 2007. He retired in 2010 with 243 career coaching victories. He is second to only Eddie Robinson in wins at historically black colleges.
Prior to coaching, Joe had on outstanding career as a player. Drafted by the Denver Broncos in the ninth round out of Villanova in 1963, Joe made an immediate impact and was named the AFL Rookie of the Year. After being traded to Buffalo, Joe helped lead the Bills to their 1965 AFL championship victory over the San Diego Chargers. He later played for the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets.
Joe is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Central State University Athletics Hall of Fame. His number 35 jersey is officially retired at Villanova University.
The Class of 2017 also includes Parnell “Paydirt” Dickinson (Mississippi Valley State), Harold “Sunny” Jackson (Jackson State), Gary “Big Hands” Johnson (Grambling State), Robert Porcher (South Carolina State, Tennessee State) and Isiah “Butch” Robertson (Southern).
“This class is another representation of the immense football talent that has played and coached at historically black colleges and universities,” said BCFHOF Co-Founder and 2012 inductee James “Shack” Harris.
Votes were tallied from the 12-member selection committee, comprised of prominent journalists, commentators and historians, as well as former NFL general managers and executives, and from previous BCFHOF inductees to determine the Inductees.
The Class of 2017 will be honored at the 8th Annual Black College Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony presented by the Atlanta Falcons Feb. 25, 2017. The induction ceremony takes place at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.