By Keisha J Kelley
(Image Courtesy of FAMU Athletics)
Florida A&M Athletics announced today that FAMU Football will be the subject of a new, eight-episode docuseries executive produced by NBA All-Star Chris Paul and produced by ESPN+, Roadside Entertainment, and Paul's Ohh Dip!!! Productions. Why Not Us: FAMU Football will chronicle the 2021 Florida A&M football team and head coach Willie Simmons from the start of fall camp through the end of the season. The first episode will premiere Thursday, October 14, exclusively on ESPN+.
"We are excited to share the storied history and transformational experiences within our program," said Vice President & Athletic Director Kortne Gosha. "FAMU Athletics has a national brand which needs to be amplified.
"We are honored and proud to partner with Chris Paul and ESPN+ to amplify our Athletics program as the front porch to America's #1 public HBCU. Our program has a rich tradition of excellence and will provide the world a front row seat into a great institution, and access to some of the most exceptional student-athletes, coaches, and staff in the country. Why Not Us?"
"We're so excited about the debut of the ESPN docuseries Why Not Us, chronicling the 2021 FAMU Football season!" said head coach Willie Simmons. "Those of us who have either worked, attended, or played here know how special this place is, and we're elated that the masses will finally get a chance to experience life on the Highest of Seven Hills."
"The second season of Why Not Us will continue to highlight the importance of HBCUs including their challenges and triumphs," said Paul. "The achievements of athletes at HBCUs do not receive the level of recognition that they deserve. Why Not Us will chronicle the Florida A&M football team and shine a spotlight on these extraordinary athletes while inspiring audiences with their incredible journey of resilience in the face of adversity."
"Following the success of the first season of Why Not Us, we wanted to take it a step further, examining the same themes with the same authenticity and rich history, but with a different university and a different sport that shows people a new path," said Brian Lockhart, senior vice president, ESPN Original Content and ESPN Films. "Coach Simmons, his players and the FAMU community are exactly what we were looking for."
Why Not Us: FAMU Football will show the day-to-day, behind-the-scenes of an NCAA Division I football program and follow one of the brightest offensive minds in college football in head coach Willie Simmons. Viewers will have the opportunity to watch Simmons and his staff prepare for games as they have never seen before.
Through the show, fans will have an opportunity to get to know what it is like to be a student-athlete at Florida A&M, from early morning workouts to late-night classes and in-between. Furthermore, viewers will see the renovation developments that occurred at historic Bragg Memorial Stadium. They can expect to learn about the history of Florida A&M from the late great Jake Gaither, who has one of the all-time winning percentages in college football (204-36, .844), to the 1978 National Championship team and the band known by all, feared by many, the Florida A&M Marching 100, and more.