Hansel E. Tookes, 86; coach helped create football’s Florida Classic

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Hansel E. “Tootie” Tookes, 86, a former athletic director at Florida A&M; University who helped create the popular Florida Classic football showdown against archrival Bethune-Cookman in a matchup of historically black colleges, died Wednesday in Tallahassee, Fla., the school announced.

Tookes coached the offensive and defensive lines for legendary head coach Jake Gaither before becoming the school’s athletic director in 1973.

While serving as athletic director, Tookes worked with Bethune-Cookman athletic director Lloyd “Tank” Johnson to create the Florida Classic, which annually averages more than 70,000 fans. This year’s game is today in Orlando, Fla.


A native of Jacksonville, Fla., Tookes was an All-Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tackle at Florida A&M; from 1939-42 and helped lead the Rattlers to Black College National Championships in 1940 and 1942.

After serving in the Army, Tookes returned to the school 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. He retired as athletic director in 1980.

Lance “Romance” Faulk, 36, a singer, songwriter and the front man for the Orange County punk-rock band the Attraction, died Nov. 10 from a heart condition, the band announced on its website.