KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Western Michigan University has chosen its new head football coach, with Lance Taylor saying he will build a team that works “relentlessly” to reach championships.
“What makes this job special and this university special are the people,” Taylor said at a Friday news conference in Kalamazoo, citing the warm welcome his family got. “The students, our players, teachers, faculty, alumni, former players, our incredible fans and the great people in the Kalamazoo community.”
He praised a culture that included pride, history and tradition and the expectation of winning.
“For my first time being a head coach, I didn’t want to take any job, I wanted to take the right job,” Taylor said. “Everything that I saw (in the interview process) — from Dan (the athletic director) to the current roster to what they’ve done on the field — excited me about what we can do and what we can be.”
“The only way to build a championship culture is to surround yourself with champions and allow them to integrate their own championship traits into everyone around team,” Director of Athletics Dan Bartholomae said at the news conference. “And Lance Taylor is a champion.”
Taylor, 41, comes to the Broncos from the University of Louisville, where he was the offensive coordinator. He has been coaching since 2007, having started at Alabama and gone onto work at Appalachian State, Stanford and Notre Dame. He also spent time coaching in the NFL for the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers. An Alabama native, he was a wide receiver at Alabama from 1999 to 2003 and then professionally in the Arena Football League for three seasons. He and his wife Jamie have two children.
In a Thursday statement, Bartholomae called Taylor “quite simply one of the most impressive individuals I have had the pleasure to spend time with,” going on to list his successes as an athlete and a coach, including coaching in the College Football Playoff, New Years Six bowl games and NFL Conference championships, and in recruiting Heisman Trophy finalists and top performers in the NFL.
More importantly, Bartholomae said, Taylor is an “inspirational leader with high integrity” who will support the “holistic development of our student-athletes.” He said Taylor told him in his interview about the importance of helping students improve their lives.
Bartholomae said his and Taylor’s visions for the program align, particularly with a focus on championships.
“I am committed to building an elite championship program. I will not shy away from high goals and lofty expectations. We will work to be great every single day in every way,” Taylor said. “I will work relentlessly every single day and set the standard of excellence for our players, coaches and everyone that touches our program. We will build championship habits and each day strive for competitive greatness.”
He promised his team will “play fast, we are going to be physical and we are going to finish — and play with relentless effort.”
Taylor’s hiring still has to be approved by the university board.
He replaces Tim Lester, whose departure from WMU was announced last month. He had been head coach for the Broncos since 2017.