Florida A&M University Athletics is considering renaming its football and softball fields, to honor two FAMU legends: Ken Riley and Veronica Wiggins
Bragg Memorial Stadium, home to FAMU’s football team, could take on the name of NFL Hall of Famer and Rattler legend Ken Riley, while the softball field is expected to be named after former head softball coach Veronica Wiggins.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, the school’s Naming Committee granted approval for the recommendations back in May. However, the final decision lies in the hands of President Larry Robinson, who must endorse the proposals, and the Board of Trustees, who will discuss it in an upcoming board meeting.
In a recommendation letter addressed to President Robinson, FAMU Athletics Director Tiffani Sykes expressed her enthusiasm for the proposed changes, “If approved, Rattlers will drive on Bob Hayes Lane, take their seats in Bragg Memorial Stadium, and witness championship football on Ken Riley Field. Truly, it will be a winning experience.”
KEN “THE RATTLER” RILEY
Ken Riley is an esteemed Florida A&M University alumnus and former NFL player for the Cincinnati Bengals who unfortunately passed away in 2020. His remarkable achievements led to his induction into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2023.
After an illustrious 15-season career in the NFL, Riley turned to coaching, spending two seasons as an assistant coach with the Green Bay Packers. In 1986, he returned back to the 850 as the Rattler’s head football coach. Riley led the team to winning two MEAC championships.
Riley was recognized as the MEAC Coach of the Year and was inducted into the 1982 FAMU Sports Hall of Fame, the Black College Football Hall of Fame, and the Florida Sports Hall of Fame.
Riley’s journey at FAMU began in 1965 when he joined the team a quarterback in the following season. Playing under the Rattler legend Jake Gaither, Riley left a mark on the field, recording an impressive career record of 23 wins and 7 losses. Each season he played a vital role in securing the SIAC title for the Rattlers.
Wiggins, the only HBCU Division I coach to ever win more than 700. During her tenure, FAMU softball achieved unparalleled dominance in the MEAC. Wiggins racked up an impressive tally of 13 MEAC Championships, 11 NCAA Tournament appearances, five MEAC Coach of the Year awards, and a remarkable total of 726 wins.
Within the MEAC conference, she maintained an outstanding record of 281 wins and only 90 losses. In recognition of her achievements, Wiggins was inducted into the Florida A&M Athletics Hall of Fame in 2006, and most recently the 2022 MEAC Hall of Fame