Billy Joe, the Coatesville native who starred as a bruising running back at Villanova and in the old American Football League before becoming one of the most successful coaches in black-college history, yesterday was named to the National Football Foundation's College Football Hall of Fame.

Joe, Concordia College coach Jim Christopherson, and four players make up this year's small-school class. They will be inducted in ceremonies on the weekend of July 19-21 at the hall in South Bend, Ind.

A graduate of Scott High School in Coatesville, Joe compiled a 237-108-4 record, a .685 winning percentage, in 31 seasons at Cheyney, Central State and Florida A&M.

Joe also was a track star at Villanova. His shot put of 60 feet, 6 inches on May 26, 1962, remains the school record.

After graduating from Villanova in 1963, Joe, 66, played seven seasons with the Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets, collecting 2,010 rushing yards.

Joe coached at Cheyney from 1972 to '78. In 1979, Dick Vermeil hired him as the Eagles' running-backs coach. A year later, after helping the Eagles reach Super Bowl XV, he left to become head coach at Central State in Ohio.

In Joe's 13 seasons there, his teams won 120 of 153 games and qualified for the NAIA playoffs 10 straight times. Between 1994 and 2004, his Florida A&M teams won five Mideastern Atlantic Conference titles. Upon his retirement after the 2004 season, he ranked second in career wins among black-college coaches, trailing only Grambling's Eddie Robinson.

Christopherson guided Concordia (Minn.) to 218 victories and two NAIA titles in 32 seasons.

The players selected were Bloomsburg linebacker Frank Sheptock, a three-time Division II all-American; Valdosta State linebacker Jesse Tuggle, who became an NFL Pro Bowler with the Atlanta Falcons; Kentucky State quarterback Joe Kendall; and Georgia Southern quarterback Tracy Ham.

Contact staff writer Frank Fitzpatrick at 215-854-5068 or ffitzpatrick@phillynews.com.