On Dec. 1, Troy Taylor walked along the football grounds at Sacramento State, on hand to peek at the players competing in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship game during a recruiting stop for Utah.
Little did Taylor know then that Hornet Stadium would be his next coaching stop. On Monday, Sac State announced that Taylor would be coming full circle in more ways than one.
A Cordova High School football star in 1985, Taylor was a co-coach with Kris Richardson at Folsom during a championship run earlier this decade before being lured by the college ranks to work his offensive magic, first as a coordinator at Eastern Washington of the Big Sky Conference in 2016 and the last two seasons as the coordinator at Utah of the Pac-12 Conference.
Taylor will be formally introduced as Sac State’s 11th coach during a Tuesday morning news conference on campus. This is the sort of hire the Hornets needed after so many up-and-down seasons over the decades, including a 2-8 showing this season that included a season-ending seven-game losing streak, resulting in the termination of coach Jody Sears.
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Taylor’s personality and coaching pedigree is similar to that of what UC Davis landed in Dan Hawkins, who led the Aggies to the FCS playoffs this season in his second year at his alma mater.
“After a thorough search, I am thrilled to select Troy Taylor to serve as the next head football coach of the Hornets,” Hornets athletic director Mark Orr said in a statement. “He’s an innovative play caller who’s had success at all levels of football. Troy is one of the best quarterbacks to come out of the Sacramento region and has become a nationally respected coach. I am excited to see him help take the program to new heights.”
Said Taylor in a statement, “I am thrilled. My family and I are excited to move back home and take on the challenge of building the Hornet program into something the city can be very proud of.”
Said Sac State president Robert S. Nelsen, “With the hiring of Troy Taylor, the Hornets have an offensive guru who, I believe, will take the football team to the playoffs and beyond in the passing-minded Big Sky Conference. But much more importantly, Coach Taylor will shape players who will be ready for life after football. He will live up to Sacramento State’s mission to ‘transform lives by preparing students for leadership, service, and success.’
“Coach Taylor is the right coach at the right time, and he is here to win on and off the field.”
Taylor has long been known for his ability to groom quarterbacks and design prolific offenses and call plays that befuddle defenses. Jake Browning started his Folsom prep career as a promising sophomore in 2012 and emerged as the most prolific touchdown passer in national high school history with 229 over three seasons.
Folsom’s 2014 team went 16-0 and finished with the second-most points scored in a season in national prep history with 995. Browning went on to set Washington career passing and touchdown marks while becoming the winningest quarterback in Pac-12 history.
At Eastern Washington in 2016, sophomore Gage Gubrud set an NCAA FCS season record by passing for 5,160 yards and 47 touchdowns and earned the FCS Player of the Year honor while crediting Taylor for his growth and success. Utah this season reached the Pac-12 title game despite injuries to quarterbacks and running backs.
Taylor’s ability to have even the reserves prepared was sited for the Utes’ success.
Taylor quarterbacked Cordova to the section’s first 14-0 season in 1985 in earning Bee Player of the Year honors. He set scores of passing records at Cal and played briefly in the NFL.
Taylor and wife Tracey have three children, sons Aaron and Noah and daughter Ella.
Follow The Bee’s Joe Davidson: firstname.lastname@example.org, @SacBee_JoeD, sacbee.com/high-school.