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T.C. Taylor named New Head Football Coach for Jackson State University
After the sudden departure of Deion Sanders as head coach for the Jackson State University Football team, fans and alumni braced themselves for the announcement of his successor. Sanders left JSU to take the head coaching job at the University of Colorado and recommended T.C. Taylor, who served as the program’s wide receiver coach and officially took over the program following the Celebration Bowl on Dec. 17, 2022. Photo courtesy Charles A. Smith, University Communications

Thee Legacy Persists: JSU Names T.C. Taylor as New Head Football Coach

On Dec. 13, just days before the final game of the 2022 season, Jackson State University named T.C. Taylor as the new head coach of the JSU Tigers football program. 

The naming of the university’s new head coach came shortly after Deion Sanders announced that he was leaving to begin a head coaching position at the University of Colorado following the Celebration Bowl on Dec. 17. Before starting his career in Colorado, Sanders made it known that he thought Taylor was the perfect man to succeed him in the role. It appears that his wish was granted with the announcement of Taylor as the new head coach.

Who is T.C. Taylor?

T.C. Taylor has been a member of the JSU football coaching staff since 2019, but that isn’t his only affiliation with the program. Taylor is a “true blue” tiger, having played quarterback and wide receiver for the storied program between 1998 and 2001. As a wide receiver, he caught 188 passes, setting a school record for receptions in a single season. Naturally, Taylor joined the staff as the wide receiver’s coach, with a legacy to build on and much to teach his players about the game. 

When Jackson State’s previous coach assumed the role, the program ran under a new slogan, “I Believe.” It felt temporary and out of place. With Taylor as the head coach, alumni and true fans of the program are certain to see “Thee I Love” back in The Vet along with slogans like “Protect Thee Block” and “Guard Thee Yard.” “Guard Thee Yard” is seemingly a phrase to be crowned under the reign of Taylor.

Restoration of Thee True Blue Legacy

This restoration of the true blue tiger legacy and order seems refreshing even as many fans were anticipating Taylor’s hire days before JSU announced it. Taylor has a legacy himself and is expected to build upon the program’s story of greatness.

Many supporters and alumni are elated to welcome an “in-house hire” and former Jackson State student and player to the leadership role. The notion of welcoming an “outsider” seems misplaced as fans grapple with the public separation of JSU and its former coach. 

T.C. Taylor named New Head Football Coach for JSU
“Hiring T.C. Taylor reminds fans of The Iron 13 whose resiliency led them to victory in the 1920 season,” Dr. Arianna C. Stokes writes. “It’s a ‘feel-good’ addition to the legacy that has people amped about what’s next.” Photo courtesy Charles A. Smith, University Communications

On protecting the legacy of HBCUs, many people have found it important to gate-keep the culture and business after seeing what detriment outside opinions can cause to the reputation of the nation’s historically black institutions. If it were up to the naysayers, JSU would crumble during the transition, but the hire of T.C. Taylor instills trust, hope and appreciation from fans and alumni.

With conversations taking place about alumni duties to their institutions, it seems fitting that Coach Taylor has assumed this role as a proud alum who has put in the time and effort for the responsibility. What better way to give back than to actually work for your alma mater?

Jackson State University has a storied football program with five NFL Hall of Famers and a number of Southwestern Athletic Conference accolades. The program produced the likes of Walter Payton, Jackie Slater and Robert Brazile, who were all a part of the legendary 1974 team.

Taylor is a part of this legacy as well, having had a crushing season in 2001. That year, he represented JSU as a Conerly Trophy runner-up, right behind Eli Manning. 

The legacy of Jackson State football dates back to 1911 when the university’s catalog first mentioned the program. Since then, the program has been home to over 100 NFL draftees, 50 All-Americans, and 18 SWAC championship trophies

Hiring Taylor reminds fans of The Iron 13 whose resiliency led them to victory in the 1920 season. It’s a “feel-good” addition to the legacy that has people amped about what’s next.

Alumni Support and Recruiting

Alumni have welcomed Taylor with open arms via social media posts and have expressed their delight with the hire, calling it “well-deserved.” An uptick in alumni giving to JSU athletics and football is anticipated as many have responded to the call across the nation to surpass the national alumni giving rate for another year. Some have taken to social media and other avenues to advocate for and rally behind “our own” as Coach Taylor takes the reins of the program following the Celebration Bowl.

Taylor continues his pursuit of “dawgs” in the recruitment season. Even prior to being announced as head coach, he took pride in attracting quality athletes to the Jackson State football program.

The future of the program looks promising as Coach Taylor has hit the ground running following the announcement of his promotion, as he did seasons prior. Just days after the university publicly named him as the 22nd head coach of the program, Jackson State acquired two major recruits, with 3 and 4-star rankings. Fans will certainly be glued to Thee Block to watch the story of Taylor’s coaching legacy unfold.

Like All-State and T.C. Taylor in the 90s, Jackson State football is in good hands.

This MFP Voices essay does not necessarily represent the views of the Mississippi Free Press, its staff or board members. To submit an opinion for the MFP Voices section, send up to 1,200 words and sources fact-checking the included information to We welcome a wide variety of viewpoints. 

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