When Willie Totten attends the MEAC/SWAC Challenge Legends Award reception on Aug. 31, he will have a chance to talk about his outstanding career as a quarterback for the Mississippi Valley State University. Totten will also have an opportunity to let everybody know about his new position as quarterback coach at Albany State.
“I’m excited about being on the field coaching,” said Totten, who will be honored prior to the MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney, which will be played on Sept. 1 and feature Florida A&M and Mississippi Valley State (11:45 am ET on ESPN). “The quarterback position is what I know. That’s what I had been playing all my life.”
There’s no question about that. Totten was quite the signal caller for the Delta Devils. He threw an impressive 139 touchdown passes, becoming Division I-AA’s all-time leader and ranking second in career passing yards (with 12,711). Totten ran the high-powered offense known as the “Satellite Express.” He was selected first-team All-American after leading the nation and setting an all-time single-season touchdown passing record (56) for all divisions. Catching a lot of those passes was Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice.
Although Totten didn’t have an extensive professional football career—playing in the Canadian Football League with the British Columbia Lions in 1986 and the Toronto Argonauts in 1987, prior to playing for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills in 1987 during the strike-shortened season—he did spend eight years (2002 to 2009) as a head coach at his alma mater.
Prior to being tapped as Albany State’s quarterback coach, Totten, 51, had been working as an athletic fundraiser for the Delta Devils. “I was just trying to get back in the game," said Totten. "I had a good conversation with [Albany State head coach Mike] White who was looking for a quarterback coach. This was a good fit for me. We have some great players on this team. The coaching staff here is great. They love teaching, and that’s something I wanted to be a part of. It’s a good feeling to be back in coaching.”
Totten, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, will be recognized at the MEAC/SWAC Challenge for his outstanding football prowess. His special place in black college football history should be an inspiration for many HBCU players and fans.
“It’s nice to have people recognize you for your accomplishments,” Totten said. “I played at Mississippi Valley from 1982 to 1985—that’s almost 30 years ago. It’s great for me. It’s great for my family and school. I can bring that back with me. I can let people know that if you have a dream those dreams can come true. You have to believe, stay focused and disciplined. If you can do that, anything can happen. It’s an honor for me to represent some great players of the past and to be considered one of the very best, that’s very rewarding.”