Alonzo Smith “Jake” Gaither

1970 - 1979 Inductees
Year Honored:
Florida A&M University


The only appropriate word to describe what Dayton, Tennessee, native Jake Gaither accomplished in his twenty-five years as head football coach at Florida A&M is: DYNASTY. Of those twenty-five years at the helm, Gaither’s teams won the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title a remarkable twenty-two times. If that does not define the word dynasty, what does? During his tenure, Gaither’s squads also won six National Negro College Championships. He retired after the 1969 season, and Florida A&M football lost a truly great coach. Gaither was a man who had countless honors for his innovations and success, yet despite all these accolades, Jake was proudest of the number of protégés who made it in the pro ranks. Most of these were poor boys, and to Jake, the son of an East Tennessee Methodist minister, this was more gratifying than his twenty-five-year coaching record of 203 wins, thirty-six losses, and four ties. His poorest season, and he had two of them, saw Florida A & M win six and lose four. Truly a legend in college football, Jake Gaither built a dynasty at Florida A&M which will forever be remembered in the annals of sports history.

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