Troy Taylor introduced as next head football coach at Sac State

Sacramento native and former NFL draft pick speaks at press conference


Thomas Frey - The State Hornet

Sac State athletic director Mark Orr (left) and Sac State President Robert Nelsen (right) listen while Troy Taylor speaks during his introductory press conference Dec. 18 at Broad Fieldhouse.

Thomas Frey and Dominique Walker

Sacramento State President Robert Nelsen was told at a Big Sky Conference meeting that convincing University of Utah offensive coordinator Troy Taylor to be the Hornets next head coach wouldn’t be possible.

“And today, we’ve got Troy,” Nelsen said.

Troy Taylor was officially named head coach of the Sacramento State football team at a press conference at the Broad Fieldhouse next to the Hornet Stadium on Tuesday morning.

On Monday, Sac State football announced they were hiring Taylor, a Sacramento native, to replace former head coach Jody Sears.

“At some point in my career I had an epiphany that everything will be built around the quarterback,” Taylor said at the event. “If our quarterback is going to be successful we are probably going to win or be in most games.”

Taylor was a successful quarterback himself: he played at Cordova High School and led the team to an undefeated record and a section championship in 1985. Then went to the University of California, Berkeley where he played from 1986 to 1989 and became the all-time leading passer in school history while playing against future NFL Hall of Fame players Troy Aikman, Randall McDaniel, Cortez Kennedy and Junior Seau.

The New York Jets drafted Taylor in the fourth round of the 1990 NFL Draft, where he was a teammate with current Hornets assistant coach Paul Wulff for a short period of time.

RELATED: Troy Taylor to replace Jody Sears as Sac State head football coach

In 61 games as co-head coach at Folsom High School from 2012 to 2015, Taylor led the Bulldogs to win 58 of those games and a 2014 state championship — a game that they won 68-7.

“I’m restless with the status quo,” Taylor said at the event. “I have no desire to be average or normal. I want to do things differently, we want to be dynamic.”

Taylor said at the event that he wanted a new challenge and decided to apply to be Eastern Washington University’s offensive coordinator in 2016. He got the job and in just one season, his quarterback Gabe Gubrud went from throwing just 13 passes in 2015 to setting the Football Championship Subdivision record by throwing for 5,160 yards that season.

The following season, Taylor was hired as the offensive coordinator at the University of Utah. Gubrud — who stayed in Eastern Washington — wasn’t the same without Taylor and threw roughly 3,300 yards in 2017, before throwing for just 1,416 yards in 2018.

RELATED: Jody Sears Q&A: What went wrong at Sac State — and what’s next

At Utah, Taylor helped lead the Utes to their first Pac-12 South title and a trip to the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 31. Taylor said he will coach in that game to finish his commitment to Utah before delving 100 percent into Hornet football.  

“If you haven’t seen what is happening on our campus, innovation is all over the place,” said Sac State Athletic Director Mark Orr. “From the new science building to the entrepreneurship center. We can add football to that because this gentleman is one of the most innovative coaches in the country. We will be playing exciting football.”

After his playing career, Taylor was a position coach at the University of California, Berkeley when Orr was a defensive back there in the late 1990s. He said that the way Orr pursued him for this position made him want to come to Sac State.

“I wasn’t searching for anything,” Taylor said. “I was approached, the more I talked to Mark and what the vision was here and what the level of support was gonna be, the more excited I got. Mark was very aggressive in reaching out, in a good way, and it was very clear that he wanted me here and that drew me even closer to Sac State. We’re coming back home.”