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Former Florida A&M Coach and Athletic Director Hansel Tookes Dies at 86


Former Florida A&M athletic director Hansel Tookes, who created the popular Florida Football Classic against archrival Bethune-Cookman, has died. He was 86.

Tookes coached the offensive and defensive lines for legendary coach Jake Gaither before becoming the school’s athletic director in 1973. He died Wednesday, the school said.

During his reign as AD, Tookes created the classic that annually averages more than 70,000 fans. This year’s game is Saturday in Orlando.

“He was Mr. Orange and Green,” said Bobby Lang, who at 73 is the lone remaining coach from the Gaither era, when the Rattlers dominated black college football.

Tookes also created the Florida A&M Sports Hall of Fame.

Tookes was known by thousands of FAMU fans for his frequent exclamation of “hubba-hubba, baby.” “It became his trademark,” Lang said. “You’d hear ‘hubba-hubba’ and know that Tootie was somewhere near.”

A Jacksonville native, Tookes played for the Rattlers before his coaching career.

An All-Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tackle for the Rattlers from 1939-42, Tookes helped lead FAMU to Black College National Championships in 1940 and 1942.

After graduating, Tookes continued his athletic career in the United States Army, where he stood out at tackle for the Camp Lee team for three years.

He returned to FAMU in 1947, joining the Rattler athletic staff as an assistant football coach and golf coach, while also serving as associate professor in the Health and Physical Education Department. He coached tennis great Althea Gibson on the school’s golf team.

Tookes retired as athletic director in 1980.

He’s survived by his wife, Lavada, sons Hansel II and Darryl and several grandchildren.

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