DURHAM, N.C. – Duke head coach David Cutcliffe announced on Sunday the addition of Trooper Taylor to the Blue Devil coaching staff.
Taylor, who will serve as an Assistant Coach and mentor the Blue Devil wide receivers, reunites with Cutcliffe as the two served together on the staff at the University of Tennessee during the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
“Obviously, Trooper and I spent time together on the staff at Tennessee just prior to me coming to Duke and I have tremendous respect for him as both a person and coach,” Cutcliffe said. “As a coach, he is outstanding in every facet – on the practice field, on gameday and in recruiting. On top of that, his relationship-building abilities set him apart from so many others – I know he will connect immediately with the young men in our program and have a great presence in the Yoh Center, at the Brooks Practice Facility, on campus and in our community. And as we officially welcome Trooper, Evi and Starr to the Duke Football family, it will be great to have two Taylors on our staff as I know both Trooper and Blaise are looking forward to the opportunity to share their chosen careers together here at Duke.”
A veteran in the coaching industry, Taylor came to Durham after spending the previous five seasons on the staff at Arkansas State University, where he helped the Red Wolves to 39 wins, five bowl game appearances and a pair of Sun Belt Conference championships in 2015 and 2016. Over his last three campaigns in Jonesboro, he served as the program’s assistant head coach.
“I’m so excited about being a part of the Duke family,” Taylor said. “This is basically a dream job come true, especially to be able to work with David Cutcliffe. We had the opportunity to work together at Tennessee, where we did some great things. What Coach Cutcliffe has done in college football, and the standard he has set, is incredible. When he presented me with this opportunity, I really wanted to take advantage of it and have the chance to be around him again.”
On the staff at Auburn when the Tigers captured the 2010 BCS National Championship, Taylor has coached in 14 bowl games during a career that includes stints at Baylor, New Mexico, Tulane, Tennessee, Oklahoma State, Auburn and Arkansas State. He has been named one of the nation’s top 25 recruiters by Rivals.com on three occasions (2005, 2007 & 2010).
Taylor coached the cornerbacks at Arkansas State as the Red Wolves made appearances in the GoDaddy Bowl (2014), New Orleans Bowl (2015), Cure Bowl (2016), Camellia Bowl (2017) and Arizona Bowl (2018). During his tenure, Taylor coached 11 All-Sun Belt selections including his son, Blaise, who enjoyed an honor-filled career which included four total all-conference citations as well as National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete accolades. In addition, Taylor helped Arkansas State secure five consecutive signing classes between 2014-18 that were ranked among the top three in the Sun Belt Conference by at least two of the major recruiting services.
As Auburn’s assistant head coach and wide receivers coach from 2009-12, Taylor helped the Tigers to 33 victories, four postseason wins, and the Southeastern Conference and BCS titles in 2010. Auburn boasted a perfect 4-0 record in postseason contests in the four-year stretch with triumphs in 2009 (38-35 over Northwestern in OT in the Outback Bowl), 2010 (56-17 over South Carolina in the SEC Championship game & 22-19 over Oregon in the BCS Tostitos National Championship game) and 2011 (43-24 over Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Bowl).
During the national championship run in 2010, Auburn’s receivers helped the offense score a Tiger single-season record 577 points while leading the SEC in scoring at 41.2 points per game as three wideouts topped the 500-yard plateau through the air.
In 2009, he mentored Darvin Adams, who broke the Auburn single-season record for receptions with 60 for 997 yards while ranking second in the SEC with 10 touchdown catches. Adams, who entered the season with just three career catches for 18 yards, was named the MVP of the Outback Bowl after catching 12 passes for 142 yards in the win over Northwestern.
The 2008 season marked Taylor’s lone campaign at Oklahoma State as the Cowboys went 9-4, played in the Holiday Bowl and closed the year ranked No. 16 in the final Associated Press national poll. Serving as co-offensive coordinator and wide receiver coach, Taylor was part of an offense that produced a pair of first team All-America picks in wideout Dez Bryant and running back Kendall Hunter. That season, Oklahoma State ranked sixth nationally in total offense and ninth in scoring.
Taylor was on the Tennessee staff from 2004-07 and coached both the running backs (2004-05) and wide receivers (2006-07). The four-year capsule was highlighted by 34 victories, two 10-win seasons (2004 & 2007), two SEC Eastern Division championships (2004 & 2007), three bowl games (2004 Cotton, 2006 Outback & 2007 Outback) and three top-25 national finishes (No. 13 in 2004, No. 25 in 2006 & No. 12 in 2007).
While with the Volunteers, Taylor coached Tennessee’s first pair of single-season 1,000-yard rushers in Gerald Riggs Jr. and Cedric Houston (2004) as well as future NFL All-Pro back Arian Foster. In addition, wideout Robert Meachem received All-America honors in 2006 under Taylor’s tutelage and was a first round pick of the New Orleans Saints in the 2007 NFL Draft.
Prior to his stint in Knoxville, Taylor spent four seasons coaching the wide receivers at Tulane from 1999-2003. Among his pupils were four individuals – Adrian Burnette, Kerwin Cook, Terrell Harris and Roydell Williams – who went on to careers in the NFL. Williams closed his collegiate career as Conference USA’s all-time leader in touchdown receptions with 35.
Taylor got his start in coaching at Baylor, his alma mater, beginning as a graduate assistant coach in 1992. He later coached Baylor’s wide receivers (1994 & 1997) and defensive secondary (1995-96) and helped the Bears to the Alamo Bowl in 1994. Taylor spent the 1998 season coaching the running backs at New Mexico.
A native of Cuero, Texas, Taylor lettered four seasons (1988-89-90-91) as a defensive back at Baylor, helped the Bears to the Copper Bowl in his final campaign and graduated as the school's career leader in both kickoff returns (53) and return yardage (1,063). He earned a degree in communications from Baylor in 1992.