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Florida A&M football coach Jake Gaither stands as one of the greatest coaches in HBCU football history. He won 6 Black National Championships and won 16 SIAC Conference championships in his first 17 years as head coach. His coaching accomplishments compare favorably to even the most revered coaches in college football history.
Coach Gaither sent 42 players into the NFL, including Bob Hayes, Ken Riley, and Willie Galimore. He taught life skills in addition to football fundamentals. Many players regarded Coach Gaither as a great influence on their lives and the men they became off the field. He liked to call the gridiron his laboratory for manhood.
Jake Gaither passed away in 1994 at the age of 90. His legacy still commands a large presence on the Florida A&M campus, however, as his name adorns several school facilities. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1975.
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