Billy Sexton has been a familiar fixture on the sidelines of Florida State football games since 1973 and three years ago he added the title of Assistant Head Coach to his coaching resume. The Tallahassee native started his career at FSU as a player for the Seminoles and went on to become a graduate assistant coach in 1977 and then a full-time coach in 1979.
While the 2002 season was special because of the addition of administrative responsibilities that go along with his new title, it would already have been memorable as his son, Wyatt, joined the team as a freshman quarterback. Wyatt started seven games in 2004 and will enter fall drills atop the depth chart at quarterback.
This season will be Sexton's 29th as a staff member at the school and his 23rd as the Seminoles' running backs coach, where a slew of pros have learned and refined their skills under the former FSU quarterback. Among the greats that Sexton coached is Warrick Dunn, who became Florida State's all-time leading rusher in 1996 and finished his career with 3,989 yards. Sexton has seen 13 of his pupils taken in the draft since 1988, including first rounders Dunn, William Floyd (San Francisco 49ers, 1994), Dexter Carter (San Francisco 49ers, 1990) and Sammie Smith (Miami Dolphins, 1989). Also among Sexton's former pupils are All-American Greg Allen, who broke 26 school records during his FSU career, and Edgar Bennett. Travis Minor was a four-year starter at tailback and was selected by the Miami Dolphins in 2001. Greg Jones added his name to the FSU alums in the NFL with his selection by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second round in 2004.
Since 1983, Sexton's running backs have become one of the most effective components of the FSU offense, averaging nearly six yards per carry and over 10 yards per catch during those 22 seasons. In addition, Florida State's backs have earned a reputation for being sure-handed receivers.
Sexton joined the Florida State staff as a graduate assistant in 1977, Bobby Bowden's second year as the FSU mentor. He became a member of the full-time staff in 1979 and worked with the Seminole quarterbacks for three seasons until 1982 when he became the head junior varsity coach and handled scouting duties. He took over the running backs the following year.
A standout at Leon High School in Tallahassee, Sexton played his first three years of college football at Alabama. He was one of the south's biggest recruits, but a coaching change with the Crimson Tide shifted their offense away from the passing game and he transferred to FSU. He was the Seminoles' starting quarterback for the opening half of the 1973 season.
Sexton earned a bachelor's degree in business from FSU and began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Leon High before returning to Florida State as a coach. He and his wife, Joy, have three children: Wyatt, Leslie and Taylor.