|(Florida Memory photo)|
By all accounts, Jake Gaither is one of the greatest coaches in all of college football history. He coached 25 years, never recording a losing season, and never losing more than four games. But like many of the black men of his era, many (including us) feel like he hasn’t been given his proper due.
On April, 11, Gaither will get a small token appreciation from the State of Florida when a historic marker is placed in front of his former home. The home has been restored by Cornelius Jones, a former FAMU football player, who bought it for $35,000 a few years ago.
After he found out the house belonged to Gaither, it took on a whole new meaning.
“To have Jake Gaither’s house and all his pictures and then just turn around and sell it, didn’t seem right,” Jones said. “I want my kids, I want the students at FAMU to know who Jake Gaither was.”
Jones spent about $100,000 fixing up the house, restoring rooms and the original hardwood floor. He even attempted to sell the home to FAMU, but former athletic director Kellen Winslow refused.
“I think it’s a real opportunity to continue (Gaither’s legend),” said FAMU Business instructor LaTanya White. “When I stepped in here the first time, I got chills. You could feel the energy and the history — and all the pictures on the wall don’t hurt.
The house features original pictures of Gaither with fellow coaching legends Bear Bryant and Woody Hayes, as well as game photos.