The Cincinnati Bengals announced the hiring of Zac Taylor as the new head coach on Monday, Feb. 4. On Tuesday, the 35-year-old was introduced at a news conference and is now the second-youngest head coach in the NFL.
Butler football fans might remember Taylor from his time as quarterback with the Grizzlies in 2004. Taylor spent one season at Butler, where he earned All-American honors and led his team to a 11-1 record and an appearance in the NJCAA championship game. Taylor transferred to Nebraska after one season at Butler. In his senior season, Taylor led the Huskers to a 9-3 record and was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year. Taylor was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent in 2007, but was cut during the preseason.
Taylor’s coaching journey began at Texas A&M, where he was an assistant with his father-in-law Mike Sherman. Taylor was later hired as an assistant quarterbacks coach with the Miami Dolphins, and spent time as the offensive coordinator at the University of Cincinnati.
In 2017, Taylor was hired by the Los Angeles Rams, where he was the assistant wide receivers coach and was promoted to quarterbacks coach before the 2018 season.
Former Butler head coach Troy Morrell, who was on staff for five of the Grizzlies’ six national titles, said that he has not been surprised by the success Taylor has had in the NFL.
“It’s not surprising if you know the kid and where he came from and who he surrounded himself with,” said Morrell.
“He’s a guy that has been around football since the day he was born. His father-in-law was an NFL coach. Zac has coached at some of the highest levels and has learned a tremendous amount at all of those stops.”
Even as a junior college quarterback, Morrell could see that Taylor had a tremendous ability to lead people.
“He’s definitely a positive leader. A guy that, no matter what the situation was, stayed calm and focused. He didn’t ever seem to get rattled, which is a great leadership quality. He related well to everyone. It didn’t matter who they were or where they were from, it seemed like he could relate to them. People followed him. When he walked on campus, people immediately gravitated to him.”
Zac Taylor’s brother, Press Taylor, also played quarterback at Butler, and is the quarterbacks coach for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Zac Taylor takes over for Marvin Lewis, who spent 16 seasons as the Bengals’ head coach. Cincinnati finished 6-10 this season and has not made the playoffs since the 2015 season.