In one of those rare moments of complete harmony among brothers, departing Jackson State University Coach Deion “Prime” Sanders, Athletic Director and JSU Vice President Ashley Robinson, and the about to-be-named new head football coach, willingly induced a long moment of tension and suspense, although it was towards a good end.
Sanders and Robinson were at the front of the meeting room, Robinson standing, Sanders in his commander’s seat in front of Robinson and a little to his left. They were about to begin to talk football.
From this harmonious scenario alone, the curious observer would conclude with certainty that Sanders would be coaching the final game of the year for Jackson State, the Dec. 17 Celebration Bowl in Atlanta. Robinson stood a good 10 to 20 feet away from him, moving out and in as the coach proceeded in his monologue.
Repeating the same mantra of “I Believe” in preparation for this last game as he did for his very first appearance on the JSU campus as coach in September 2020, Sanders spoke to the group of 80 or so in the room.
“It’s not a shadow of doubt what y’all gon’ do Saturday,” he said. “Cause what we’re on, who can touch us?”
Still sitting, he looked to his right and said, “AD.”
Praising the 13 graduating seniors on the team, AD Robinson stepped forward and started speaking about the Celebration Bowl.
“We’re getting calls,” he said. “We’ve some unfinished business. Celebration Bowl, we’re here. Let’s show people what we’re about. And that’s like Coach says, let’s dominate.”
Hesitating just long enough to catch his breath, Robinson got serious.
“With that being said, I know we talked about giving y’all an update on the next team coach at Jackson State University. When you’re successful and you’re doing well, you have to keep your house straight. And you have to stay within your house.
“And I’m happy today to announce that…”
Deion got up and walked to a side door at the front of the room saying he’d better check “to make sure they come in.” He walks to the door, but Robinson, who is in on the ruse, frenetically points towards the back of the meeting room, shouting.
“The next head coach at Jackson State University is the one and only T. C. Taylor,” he says as the crowd abruptly turns towards the back of the room where Taylor has been sitting all along.
They all break out into a raucous cheer and rush to shake hands and hug the next coach of Jackson State.
“I’ve been paying my dues. Patience. Letting God order my steps. Humble. That got me here today. For real. Family. Y’all my family. My family at home. It motivates me.”
Taylor comes to the head coaching position from his current position as assistant coach and offensive coordinator. He graduated from JSU in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in health, physical ed, and recreation. He was JSU’s tight end and wide receivers coach until 2021.
Taylor played quarterback and wide receiver at JSU from 1998-2001, coached at Coahoma Community College 2005-11 as quarterbacks and wide receivers coach, and spent the final six seasons there as offensive coordinator.
After his move to North Carolina Central as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator 2014-18, NC Central won three MEAC championships (2014, 2015, 2016) under his direction and was unbeaten in conference play in 2016.
“Ever since I got into coaching this has been a dream of mine,” he said. “We’re going to continue to dominate. We’re going to continue to bring the best players in here. Cause that’s what it’s all about. Starting this weekend, we’re going to do this thing right. Starting in ‘23, we’re going to be national champions.”
Taylor returned to Jackson State in 2019 on former head coach John Hendrick’s staff. He has been assistant coach since.
JSU President Thomas K. Hudson was excited that the selection of Taylor, an alumnus of JSU, would be the new head coach.
“Coach Taylor’s experience working with our student-athletes, along with his dedication to support and enhance his alma mater, is exactly what Jackson State University needs to continue to elevate the athletic prowess of our football program,” he said. “I look forward to working with him as he continues to ‘build on tradition and blaze new trails.’”
Taylor is scheduled to be formally appointed to the head coach’s position in January 2023.