Coach Willie Simmons of Florida A&M, who led the Rattlers to a 12-1 record and a Celebration Bowl victory this season, is departing to take a position at Duke as the running backs coach.
After five seasons at Florida A&M, Simmons is 45-13 and has a 66-24 record as a collegiate coach overall. Before making a choice on Monday, he spent the weekend considering his options with Florida A&M and Duke, which both made a strong effort to retain the coach.
The 43-year-old Simmons last held a coaching position in the FBS in 2011 as the offensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee. Between 2007 and 2009, Simmons and new Duke coach Manny Diaz worked together as Middle Tennessee assistant coaches. Diaz oversaw defence while Simmons directed running backs.
From 2015 to 2017, Simmons led Prairie View A&M to a 21-11 record. In his final four seasons at Florida A&M, he went 39-8 as the team overcame Howard 30–26 in the December 16 Celebration Bowl.
Simmons received a $300,000 yearly contract as long as he signed with Florida A&M until 2025. This season, he received $135,000 in bonuses, $100,000 of which came from winning the Celebration Bowl.