A one-hour documentary, "Changing the Game: The Jake Gaither Story," shares the civil rights legacy of legendary Florida A&M University head football coach Alonzo S. “Jake” Gaither, who skillfully, without contention, championed social change by using sports to improve race relations in and beyond the state of Florida. Special cinematic emphasis focuses on the iconic coach’s private campaign to organize and play the South’s first integrated college football game on November 29, 1969 between FAMU and the University of Tampa. The Rattlers emerged victorious 34-28 in the historic game that helped debunk a number of long-standing racial myths about black athletes, black coaches, and race relations between Florida’s segregated populations.
Alonzo S. Gaither, who built a powerful athletic machine at Florida A&M University, the state’s only public historically black university, is known as the winningest coach of his era. His pioneering coaching tactics propelled FAMU’s athletic program beyond the parameters of the HBCU universe into the broader American culture, with the team’s stellar performance being covered on sports pages of daily mainstream and black niche newspapers across the country. Coach Gaither is historically regarded as a great motivator who used the football field as his “laboratory” to develop players’ character and refine their talents in order to help them reach their fullest life potential.