Faces of Fisk

Jao Makor

Jao Makor: Talented Tenth Program Director and Men's Soccer Coach

by Tierra Robinson, Communications and Digital Content Coordinator

“The reason I am here is to help with academics first; secondly, soccer,” said Jao Makor, director of the Talented Tenth Scholars Program and head men’s soccer coach.

Makor developed the Fisk University men’s soccer program in 2007. After leaving Fisk to pursue other opportunities, Makor returned to Fisk in 2012. Since his return, the men’s soccer program has defeated the No. 1 ranked regional team and other highly ranked university teams.

A native of Monrovia, Liberia, Makor developed a love and passion for soccer at an early age. At seven years old, he was determined to play for Liberia’s national team. In fact, it was his passion for soccer that brought him to the United States.

“I came to the U.S. when I was 17 years old on a soccer scholarship to Concordia College in Minnesota,” Makor said. “Due to frigid weather conditions up north, I requested to transfer to the south. I moved to Tennessee on a track and soccer scholarship.”

Makor received a full scholarship to attend Tennessee State University where he was involved in helping TSU establish its first soccer program.

“I played one year of soccer at TSU and was later approached to be on the football team,” Makor said.  “Coach Joe Gilliam, Sr. wanted me to be his kicker after seeing me play in a homecoming game.”

During his four years at TSU, Makor was the leading scorer and the first soccer-style place kicker for the football team. He even earned Most Valuable Player in 1982. He graduated with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from TSU.

After college, Makor signed a football contract with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles. His football career was interrupted in 1989, due to an injury. His former coach Gilliam, Sr., offered him an assistant coaching position over special teams. After Coach Gilliam retired, Makor continued his assistantship under Head Coach L.C. Cole before moving to Fisk University to become Head Soccer Coach.

“This year, our program has been very successful academically and athletically,” Makor said. “We have two freshman presidential scholars and last year, boasted the student athlete with the highest GPA at graduation. These players aren’t just smart, but they are also athletes. Those are my true areas of success this year.”

The 2017 Fisk soccer team finished with a winning season and Makor says the future is bright for the team. “When I think about Fisk soccer I just smile. Fisk has dominated in other sports and our future is bright.”

Consistent with the mission of Fisk University, Makor is also dedicated to developing male scholars and leaders in the minority communities. He is now spearheading the Talented Tenth Scholars Program (TTSP) at the university.

TTSP is a program to ensure the academic success of all male students in the transition to Fisk University by assisting with educational planning and decision-making of personal interests, values and goals.

“College is a time for tremendous growth, so my role here is to help these young men develop their skill-level in terms of dealing with the world and in their communities,” Makor said.

“The Talented Tenth Scholars Program is something President Rome has brought new life into,” Makor beamed. “I know how to build men from soccer to the Talented Tenth Program, so we are on our way at Fisk to help our communities.”

The men’s soccer team plans to become a NAIA member next year and the Talented Tenth Scholars Program will relaunch in January 2018.