When legendary coach Bobby Lang stepped onto Florida A&M’s campus in 1953, he probably didn’t think that would be the place where he’d spend more than three decades of his life.
But, that is exactly what happened, as the then student-athlete would earn his degree from the university while on a football and track & field scholarship and then return to the institution after a successful nine-year stint as a prep school teacher and coach.
Lang got back on campus in 1966 as an assistant coach with the football team and inherited the reigns of the Rattlers’ track & field program.
It didn’t take Lang much longer to teach Florida A&M how to strike on the cross country course, as well as on the track and in the field.
From 1966 to 1999, when he eventually retired following an illustrious career, Lang’s teams combined to win 38 conference championships between the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) and the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC).
Most of that success came as a member of the MEAC, which FAMU joined in 1979 and since then has spent all but two years as a member. The Rattlers struck for 29 conference titles with Lang leading the charge, with 16 going to the women’s programs and 13 headed the men’s way.
Lang became the first coach in MEAC history to complete the vaunted triple crown, earning conference titles in cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field.
Along with coaching cross country and track & field, Lang also headed FAMU’s National Youth Sports Program, a government-funded summer athletics program, and served as an assistant coach on the football team, most notably in 1978 when the Rattlers won the inaugural I-AA (now FCS) national championship.
Lang retired from the university in July of 1999, but the school continued to serve an important role in his family’s life. It is where he met his wife and the institution from which each of his three children received degrees.
“Rattlers for Life” isn’t just a moto for Lang.
He lived it.