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Remembering Hansel Tookes

November 20, 2007

Bethune-Cookman University President Trudie Kibbe Reed and the entire Bethune-Cookman University family extend their heartfelt condolences to the Hansel Tookes family and to each and every member of the Florida A & M University community on the loss of legendary coach, Hansel Tookes.

Our prayers go with you as you travel this journey of heavy grief.

Remembering Tookes

When Hansel Tookes was coaching, his voice boomed across the pummeled earth of the practice field, commanding attention from fence-gazers, slowing automobile traffic on side streets, towered above the rising hills of the campus, and lingered in the hearts and minds of all who were fortunate enough to be within the reach of its full-throated timbre. . .  
Tookes' life was a gift that kept on giving to Florida A&M University that lasted nearly seven decades.
He began giving with his role as a student-athlete in 1939, playing both ways as one of the best linemen ever to wear the orange and green, earning all-conference honors and helping lead the Rattlers to two national black college championships.
He was an extraordinary teacher in the classroom . . . As a coach, he and his colleagues . . . formed one of the greatest coaching staffs in the history of college football, winning nearly 85 percent of their contests . . .
As an administrator, Tookes was clearly FAMU's most creative athletic director. He was the first to see that the longtime one-sided rivalry between FAMU and Bethune-Cookman was becoming more competitive and that an annual game at a neutral site had the potential to rival major-college bowl games in attendance and revenue. . . .
But it was off the field and out of the classroom where Tookes may have made his greatest contribution to FAMU with an extraordinary gift of $100,000, although he never made big bucks as an educator. He inspired other former athletes to follow in his lead and think in terms of giving major gifts to FAMU athletics. . . .
He was a transformational coach, educator and philanthropist, although he always said FAMU took him from the east side of Jacksonville and taught him how to be successful in life and he owed FAMU for all that he accomplished. This time he got it wrong. FAMU will always owe a special debt to the Hansel Tookes family.
Retired FAMU VP, University Relations

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About Bethune Cookman University:

Founded in 1904 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement.  B-CU offers 38 degrees on its main campus and online college. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private, historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of nearly 4,000.  For more information, visit

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