Coach Taylor Shares His Love of Football and Remembers Those Who Inspired Him

Starting his coaching career at Santa Monica College in February of 1984 as the linebacker coach, Coach Robert Taylor, fondly referred to as "Coach T" by those who trained under him, has now become one of the only 10 African American college football coaches in the United States.

"I'm pretty proud of that," said Taylor, who had many positive influences throughout his football career. "I just try and go out there and do my job."

Taylor's office is cluttered with photographs of previous SMC football teams and their numerous accomplishments, over the last 21 years that he has been coaching.

Taylor began his athletic coaching career at Budlong Elementary School in Los Angeles after receiving his B.A. in Elementary Science Education from Central Connecticut College. He played football throughout much of his academic life and even into his teaching career.

"I had a few aspects in town. I just sort of bounced around for awhile, and then, somehow, I became interested in coaching," he said. One of Taylor's first coaching positions was the school basketball team at Budlong Elementary. He then began coaching at local secondary schools such as John Muir High School and various others. With every new position and every new job he gained more knowledge about football, life and how to interact with young men and women.

"He was a hard-nosed guy who wouldn't let me slide through the cracks," says Taylor about his high school football coach Vito de Vito. Furthermore, one of Taylor's biggest influences was playing under the coaching direction of John Madden, a classic figure in the Nation Football League, who has won numerous national championships.

"He really taught me a lot. He showed me how to treat my players," said Taylor about his playing experience. He is the type of coach who truly cares about the well-being of each and every single one of his players. As part of his position, he takes the necessary responsibility of stressing the importance of a solid education along with the enjoyment of playing football.

"I treat them all the same - fairly - but I tell them there's a responsibility, that they've got to go to class to get to the next level," he said.

Moving into his 21st year of coaching, Taylor shows no signs of slowing down. He says he truly loves his job and loves football. "A lot of people ask me when I am going to quit, and I tell them that 'I've got gas in my tank and it reads full.'"