Trooper Taylor: The Right Hire

Trooper Taylor is an accomplished assistant football coach and recruiter and has done a very good job at several stops -- primarily at Baylor, New Mexico, Tulane and Tennessee. This is not the first time he has been a candidate to join the staff at Oklahoma State. He was highly recommended to Les Miles (by Mike Gundy) several times.

Ask Tulsa Washington product and Tennessee All-American wide receiver Robert Meacham how much credit he gives to Taylor for his collegiate success and first-round selection in the NFL Draft.

For some insight as to how Taylor fits with Gundy and this group of coaches at Oklahoma State I take you back to Mike and Kristin Gundy's house in Waco, Texas, on Saturday afternoon, Nov. 16, 1996.

It was Gundy's only year on the Baylor staff after taking over midseason as the offensive coordinator after initially being named passing game coordinator. The Bears offense had gone up and down the field on Missouri that day with close to 500 yards of offense only to lose a triple overtime thriller 49-42.

It was a tough loss that had the members of the Baylor coaching staff of Chuck Reedy disappointed. At 4-6, with a game at Oklahoma State coming up the next week, there was speculation that the administration at Baylor was undecided on whether to make a change in the head football coach. This was a staff and a head coach in Reedy that had gone 7-4 the previous season and finished 7-5, tying for the Southwest Conference title, and earning a trip to the Alamo Bowl in 1994.

Among the coaches at this postgame gathering was a young Baylor assistant coaching running backs named Larry Fedora. Fedora had become fast friends with Gundy as they both were side by side in the press box on game days and they forged a bond and a desire to work together again some day in the future when one of them would get their first head coaching job.

Another coach there was Darrell Wyatt, a smart coach that also had earned marks as a huge recruiter. Wyatt was the receivers coach and would later work with Gundy under Les Miles at Oklahoma State. On the defensive side was defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Andy McCollum. McCollum would become the first head coach of the group and actually hired Fedora and former Baylor and current Oklahoma State offensive line coach Joe Wickline to run his offense at Middle Tennessee State.

There was a nother coach at this gathering of what could be characterized as a Baylor or Waco coaching version of the rat pack -- Trooper Taylor, who had been a star player at Baylor under legendary Miracle of the Brazos and Hall of Fame coach Grant Teaff.

Taylor was the secondary coach that season but had coached wide receivers the season before and would move back to coaching receivers again the next season.

You see Baylor fired Reedy and this young talented staff. The Bears have not come remotely close to success on the field since that staff left. Gundy has been at Maryland and Oklahoma State and has coached in six bowls, this will be his second as a head coach. Fedora has been to Florida and Oklahoma State in addition to his success at Middle Tennessee. He is now a head coach at Southern Miss.

Wyatt has been to OSU, OU and the NFL with loads of success. Taylor has been to New Mexico, Tulane (under Rich Rodriquez as offensive coordiinator) and Tennessee, and has been to many bowls and shouldn't have any problem coming in to work with Gundy on an offense that Fedora created.

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