Familiar face brings excitement

Hamline hires defensive coordinator Chip Taylor as head football coach.

Jake Kjos, Senior Reporter

The departure of head coach Chad Rogosheske left Hamline football with a big void to fill. They chose to promote within their own by announcing the hiring of Chip Taylor, the defensive coordinator for the past three seasons. Aside from leading the Pipers defense, Taylor has experience coaching both sides of the ball as a former co-offensive coordinator at Valparaiso University.

Taylor talked about the mixed emotions of taking over for the coach that brought him to Hamline.

“It’s exciting whenever you get a chance to lead young men,” Taylor said. “I did not expect a coaching change. It’s bittersweet because he brought me here to coach the defense.”

Junior defensive back Zach Schwalbach hoped that Taylor would be the hire.

“When Mr. Verdugo announced that there was a potential candidate for the new job that was already in our program we all knew it was Coach T.,” Schwalbach said. “A lot of players, myself included, were hoping that he would get the job. I was ecstatic when it was announced that Coach T. was hired.”

Taylor talked about how expectations have changed now that he has a bigger role as head coach.

“It’s changed drastically. When you’re defensive coordinator, you’re focused on your 45 guys. I have to do some good legwork with the offense to get to know everybody,” he said.

The new coach also discussed his ways of getting to know some of the players.

“It’s more individually focused. I’ll pull a guy out of the weight room and ask about his family, how many brothers and sisters he has, what he wants to do after he graduates. Those are the things I want to know,” Taylor said.

Junior linebacker Jonny Nguyen, who has gotten to know Taylor well over the past three years, mentioned Taylor’s hard work as a reason he was hired.

“For me it wasn’t surprising. He’s a big blue collar guy. He likes things done his way. He’s a great fit,” Nguyen said.

Taylor talked about potential changes from Rogosheske’s coaching style.

“There will be some things that stay the same. He’s the one that got us back on the train tracks. One of the biggest things we need to work on is becoming a more disciplined football team. If we can be disciplined now in April, we will be disciplined in September,” Taylor said.

On the offensive side of the ball, Taylor wants to emulate a proven strategy for winning.

“Ideally we want to be able to control the football. We want to be pro-style and run the ball,” he said.

Schwalbach commented on how the continuity of having Taylor coach the team will help going forward.

“From a defensive standpoint it is great to have Coach Taylor still on the staff. As a defense we will not have to take any steps backward in the coming seasons to reach where we have been in the past,” he said.

Taylor regarded his familiarity with the team as a positive.

“Any time that you can have stability, people know you, they have a relationship with you,” he said. “These guys won’t play hard unless they know you care about them.”

Being a known commodity has also helped as Taylor works on recruiting.

“The recruits are still coming in. It’s been a one-man show with the departures of some of the assistant coaches. I can pick up where the assistants left off,” Taylor said.

Taylor has a specific vision for the type of player that he wants to recruit to the Pipers.

“We’re looking for the scholar athletes. Guys who are great in the classroom, tough on the field and good guys off the field,” he said.

Nguyen talked about how big his expectations are for next season and what the team is doing to reach them.

“Huge – my senior year I think record-wise we could be 7-3, 8-2. I feel like what coach is trying to drill into our minds is that you still need to run, lift, do agility drills. It’s made me ten times better as a player,” Nguyen said.

Schwalbach predicts that the team will take a leap forward not just physically, but mentally.

“I expect the team to have more mental discipline, and more maturity as a whole. We have a lot of returning players, and every year you play in the MIAC is another year of improvement,” he said.