Special needs teacher Taylor spent time in NFLOn Sept. 24, the Rockdale Tigers will venture to Madisonville to play against the Mustangs, alma mater to our new assistant coach, Chris Taylor. Taylor, a 1997 graduate of Madisonville High School lettered in four sports, football, baseball, basketball and track while also main- taining excell ent grades. He graduated in t he top 10 percent of his class; however, it was football that carried him through college.
As many boys dream of, he went to Texas A&M on a full scholarship and he was able to play for the Aggies for four years, ending in the 2000 season under famed head coach, R.C. Slocum. (Slocum was the w inningest coach in Aggie history and currently resides in Milano.)
Very few high school players not only go on to college football, but can also say they have walked onto a field as a member of the NFL, but Taylor was the seventh round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2001. He played for the Steelers and the Titans before signing with St. Louis. Taylor then went to Canada where he played with the British Columbia Lions before being picked up by the Houston Texans. The Texans sent Taylor to play for a year in Europe before returning to Houston to play as a wide receiver.
After moving on from his football career, Taylor spent two years as a personal trainer and also worked as a sales representative for RBS Lynk, a credit processing company. A twist of fate brought him into the realm of education. Taylor began doing some work as a substitute teacher in 2005, and he enjoyed being a part of the school atmosphere. In 2008, a Klein ISD teacher was dealing with cancer so Taylor took his position with the Special Needs Program as a long-term sub and in turn found a new calling in his life.
Taylor returned to A&M for a year and finished his degree. He majored in university studies, with a focus on leadership, coupled with a double minor in psychology and sociology. He then took a job coaching running backs for Northern Arizona University, but Taylor immediately felt he had gone too far from home and so in June he left Arizona on faith so that he could return to Texas and be closer to his children.
It was the very last day of the coaches’ conference when RISD athletic director Jeff Miller found Taylor’s resume and within days Taylor had found a new field to call home. With his unique ability to work with special need’s students, RHS was able to hire Taylor to be the paraprofessional assisting Coach Warner in Life Skill’s, a class that help students with varied disabilities learn practical skills for daily life.
“Working in this classroom really strengthens your appreciation for the little things in life,” Taylor said. Some of his students are unable to communicate, use the restroom independently or walk. Some of his students are able to do basic things but they need assistance to plan a day, groom themselves, and make simple choices. There is a wide spectrum of learning that goes on in Life Skills.
“It can be frustrating at times because you want so much to help the kids learn how to accomplish tasks on their own. Sometimes they are so used to doing things one way, they aren’t open to trying something new.” Taylor has found a passion working with these disadvantaged youths. He will soon be taking the SBEC examination to become a certified teacher and he plans to continue in his dual role as special education teacher/coach.
“With coaching the challenges are different. Sometimes it’s hard to reach the kids, to get them to “buy-in” to what it takes to make a championship team. Some of the kids want to play, but they don’t really have their heart in the game, the team.” But Taylor finds every ounce of effort pays off “when you just want students to do better, to be better, and you watch them work so hard until they pass over the hump, that moment is what makes it all worthwhile.”
Taylor has two children who live in Spring with their mother. His daughter Mackenzie is six years old and son Cy is four years old. His parents, Earnest and Vernice Taylor still reside in Madisonville.
Taylor hopes that one day he will become a head coach much like Coach Miller, but maintains that he will always continue to take part in working with special needs children, even through charity. His philosophy is quite simple.
“Do whatever you can do, whatever is in your power. Do the extra things to help shape kids’ lives. Sometimes it is the smallest thing; the thing you never imagined could make a difference- that is the thing that completely changes a kid’s life. Approach each day and every student with the attitude that says ‘I will help these kids’.”
Taylor is doing exactly thatboth inside the halls of RHS and outside on the field, he is leading by example for the Rockdale Tigers.