Troy Taylor was content in the cold country of Cheney, Wash., calling plays for one of the hottest offenses in college football.
But like the players he mentors, Taylor was ripe for new challenges, and the offensive guru from Sacramento is on the move.
After one season at Eastern Washington, Taylor has accepted the offensive coordinator post at Utah of the Pacific-12 Conference. The Eagles of the Big Sky Conference featured the top FCS passing attack in 2016 with Taylor serving as co-offensive coordinator.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham courted Taylor. Taylor received an endorsement from Washington coach Chris Petersen when Eastern Washington inquired about the former Folsom High School co-coach a year ago. .
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I have watched Troy Taylor closely over the years when he was coaching innovative high school offenses in California and was eager to see how that translated to college coaching. He achieved the same results at Eastern Washington, and we are fortunate that Troy was interested in bringing that style of offense here.
Kyle Whittingham, Utah coach, on new offensive coordinator Troy Taylor
Taylor and his wife, Tracey, will fly to Salt Lake City on Thursday to meet with personnel and go house hunting in a region bordered by the Great Salt Lake and the snow-capped peaks of the Wasatch Range.
“We had so much fun and had a great staff and great players to work with at Eastern Washington,” said Taylor, who helped the Eagles go 12-2, including a season-opening 45-42 win over Pac-12 member Washington State. “I think a lot of coach Whittingham and his Utah program.”
The feeling is mutual. Whittingham said he has long admired how Taylor implemented potent schemes at Folsom, resulting in numerous regional and national scoring marks.
“I have watched Troy Taylor closely over the years when he was coaching innovative high school offenses in California and was eager to see how that translated to college coaching,” Whittingham said in a statement. “He achieved the same results at Eastern Washington, and we are fortunate that Troy was interested in bringing that style of offense here.”
Taylor was The Sacramento Bee’s Player of the Year at Cordova in 1985 and set passing marks at Cal. After a brief NFL career, he had assistant coaching stints at Colorado and Cal from 1995 to 1999. He then turned to high school teaching and coaching to avoid the vagabond existence prevalent at the college level.
The exciting part and the fun part is helping players build confidence, seeing them grow, and it’s not just fundamentals. I never want players to be intimidated by me. I want them to see me as a person.
Troy Taylor, new Utah offensive coordinator
The opportunities at Eastern Washington and Utah were too great to pass up, each with a significant raise in salary. The Taylors soon will move their children – Noah, 15, Aaron, 8, and Ella, 11 – to Salt Lake City.
“It just seems like good timing,” Taylor said of the move to Utah. “The kids will be great. They’ll meet new friends. And we have Ben, our golden retriever. He’s more important to the family than I am sometimes, and he has more hair.”
Taylor also will have a role in recruiting, including Northern California. He looks forward to pursuing quarterbacks, his specialty.
“Got to get on recruits early, show them you love them early, and then find the right guys who fit what we want to do,” Taylor said. “The exciting part and the fun part is helping players build confidence, seeing them grow, and it’s not just fundamentals. I never want players to be intimidated by me. I want them to see me as a person.
“There’s nothing harder in sports than playing quarterback. If I can get them to be comfortable with me and our system and our environment, then they will be successful and we’ll be successful.”
Taylor said he will brush up on Utah’s mascot, named after the Ute tribe.
“There are millions of Bears and Bulldogs mascots out there,” Taylor said with conviction and a laugh, “but only one Ute – us.”