New Hamline football coach values his relationships with players

SOECharlesHallmansquareSpring football at Hamline University starts April 9 and will be led for the first time by the school’s first Black head football coach. Chip Taylor, who was promoted last month after three seasons as defensive coordinator, is only the second-ever Black football coach in Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) history.

“I don’t try to get caught up into who makes what — I worry about the product on the field,” said Taylor in a recent MSR interview in his campus office when asked to comment on the historical significance of his promotion.

Chip Taylor
(Photo courtesy of Hamline Athletics)

He succeeds former head coach Chad Rogosheske, who took a similar position at Capital (Ohio) University to be closer to family. The two also worked together as assistants at Bucknell, and Taylor joined him when Rogosheske was hired as Hamline’s football coach.

A coordinator position in football is often considered a pathway to a head coaching position one day, but unfortunately such pathways aren’t always readily available to Black coaches. However, as a result, “When he offered me this job [as defensive coordinator], to come out here was a no-brainer,” for many reasons as Taylor pointed out. “You want to work with good people in this profession.  One, he [Rogosheske] is a good person, and two, he was going to help me better my career.”

The New Jersey native coached six seasons at Valparaiso and one season at Rose-Hulman before he was hired at Bucknell for three seasons. He also participated in two NFL summer coaching internships at Arizona and Kansas City.

“The biggest thing I got to take [from the pro internships] was to watch how coaches communicated with the players,” Taylor recalled. “It was interesting to me how pro coaches handle pro players.”

As he briefly reflected, Taylor said a broken collarbone he suffered in seventh grade first planted the idea that coaching might be in his future. Later, he recalled, “I had a couple of high school coaches who were a big influence. I had some decent college coaches [he played at Illinois State], and I watched them do some things and how they related to different players.

“I guess the combination of breaking the collarbone and my college coaches inspired me to coach football,” said Taylor.

Being an effective communicator as a coach has as much importance as strategy, stated the Hamline coach. “The way I got to this point is learning how to leverage these relationships” with players. I always had that kind of communicating with players of getting them to do what you want them to do.” Trust also is important — if they know you care, they will run through the wall for you.

“Some coaches really cut their teeth on being really good at X’s and O’s [or] really great at recruiting. You’ve got to be good at those things, but relationships is my deal,” said Taylor.

Taylor says he sees a calendar year pass before he is comfortable in his new position, but he also knows he can’t wait that long. “Every day I am trying to focus on just the things that matter. We talk about what’s important now. As much as I tell my players that, I have to live by the same creed. I feel like if we take care of the little things now, it will all come together in [the] fall.”


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One Comment on “New Hamline football coach values his relationships with players”

  1. Good opportunity for a positive, professional young man. Solid character, honesty, integrity and enthusiasm are part of his DNA. Had the privilege of working with him at Valparaiso University. He’s a winner! Blessings! Mrs. C.

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