NOTRE DAME, Indiana — Lance Taylor, previously a running backs coach at Stanford that mentored Heisman Trophy runner-up Christian McCaffrey and recruited another in Bryce Love, has been named running backs coach for the University of Notre Dame.
“I’ve been blessed to work at some incredible places in my career, but Notre Dame is truly special,” said Taylor. “I’m honored and humbled to represent this incredible University as its running backs coach. I’d like to thank both Brian Kelly and Jack Swarbrick for this opportunity. I’m excited to get on campus, meet our players and get to work.”
“I was primarily looking for two things,” said Dick Corbett Head Football Coach Brian Kelly. “The candidate had to have the right skill set. He needs to be a great teacher and communicator. He also needs to fit Notre Dame, culturally, and Lance, most certainly, possesses all of those qualities. He recruited at an extremely high level during his time at Stanford, and he worked with the very best in the NFL. His ability to bring both of those experiences together makes him a perfect fit on our staff.”
Prior to the last two seasons as the wide receivers coach with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, Taylor was the running backs coach at Stanford for three seasons from 2014-16.
While with the Cardinal, Taylor, who was named the 2015 FootballScoop.com Running Backs Coach of the Year, played a key role in the development of 2015 Heisman Trophy runner-up Christian McCaffrey. The Stanford running back set the school record for single-game rushing yards (243) against UCLA and became the first Cardinal to eclipse the 2,000-yard rushing mark in a season (2,019). McCaffrey, who was second among all FBS running backs in rushing yards, registered 11 100-yard rushing games, including a school-record nine straight.
Under Taylor’s tutelage, McCaffrey earned Associated Press Player of the Year honors in 2015. Taylor also guided McCaffrey to team-best 45 receptions, 645 receiving yards and five receiving TDs. McCaffrey was the only FBS player to lead his team in both rushing and receiving yards in 2015.
Stanford set a school record in 2015 in rushing yards (3,132) under Taylor, and two of the other 13 best rushing seasons in Stanford history came under his guidance.
Two of Taylor’s disciples — McCaffrey and Love — hold three of the top five rushing seasons in Stanford history, and each of the four highest single-game rushing totals.
McCaffrey ultimately was chosen with the eighth pick of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers.
In 2016, Stanford’s rushing offense averaged 223.7 yards/game, 19th-best nationally and second among Pac-12 programs.
In 2014, Stanford averaged 158.8 yards/game on the ground, rushed for at least 100 yards in 11 of 13 games, and finished with at least 200 yards on the ground in each of its last three games — all Cardinal victories. Remound Wright led Stanford with 601 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns, running for nine scores in the final three games of the season, which included a Big Game record-tying four-touchdown performance against Cal.
Taylor comes to Notre Dame following two seasons as the wide receivers coach with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.
In 2018, Taylor oversaw the development of both rookie D.J. Moore and second-year Curtis Samuel. The tandem registered 94 catches for 1,282 yards and seven touchdowns. Moore’s 788 yards and 55 catches ranked second and fourth, respectively, among NFL rookie wideouts.
In 2017, he coached a wide receiver corps that saw 14 different players make a reception, one shy of the franchise record, and nine different players hauled in a receiving touchdown, tying the franchise record.
Taylor helped Devin Funchess to a breakout season. Funchess set career highs in receptions (63), receiving yards (840) and receiving touchdowns (8). Taylor also worked with McCaffrey, who finished as the franchise record-holder for most receptions (80), receiving yards (651) and receiving touchdowns (5) by a running back in a single season. McCaffrey also set the franchise record for most receptions by a rookie, scrimmage yards by a rookie (1,086), yards after catch by a rookie (593) and first downs by a rookie (57).
Taylor came to Stanford from the Panthers, where he spent the 2013 season as an assistant wide receivers coach.
Prior to his time at Carolina, Taylor spent three seasons with the New York Jets from 2010-12, serving as a coaching intern in 2010, offensive quality control coach in 2011 and assistant tight ends/quality control coach in 2012. During Taylor’s time with the Jets’ tight ends, Jeff Cumberland (29) and Dustin Keller (28) ranked second and third on the team, respectively, in receptions.
Before his stint in the NFL, Taylor coached wide receivers at Appalachian State in 2009. Under his tutelage, the Mountaineers set school records with 284 receptions and 3,621 receiving yards. The team finished 11-3, won the Southern Conference title and advanced to the Football Championship Subdivision semifinals.
He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for Nick Saban at his alma mater, Alabama, from 2007-08.
A walk-on at Alabama before earning a scholarship, Taylor played in 38 consecutive games at wide receiver from 1999-2003 for the Crimson Tide. As a senior, he served as a special teams captain for (then) coach Mike Shula.
Taylor played professionally for the Colorado Crush and Columbus Destroyers of the Arena Football League, and af2’s Green Bay Blizzard and Louisville Fire from 2004-06.
Taylor graduated from Alabama in 2003 with a degree in management. Taylor’s father, James, also attended Alabama and played running back under legendary head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.
A native of Mt. Vernon, Alabama, Taylor’s family includes his wife Jamie, son Jet, and daughter Jemma.
The Taylor File
Hometown: Mt. Vernon, Alabama
High School: Citronelle
College: Alabama (B.A., Business Management, 2003)
Children: Son – Jet; Daughter -Jemma
2000-03: University of Alabama – Wide Receiver
2004: Colorado Crush (Arena Football League) – Wide Receiver/Defensive Back
2005: Columbus Destroyers (Arena Football League) – Wide Receiver/Defensive Back
2005: Green Bay Blizzard (af2) – Wide Receiver/Defensive Back
2006: Louisville Fire (af2) – Wide Receiver/Defensive Back
2007: Alabama – Graduate Assistant (Offense)
2008: Alabama – Graduate Assistant (Offense)
2009: Appalachian State – Wide Receivers
2010: New York Jets – Coaching Intern
2011: New York Jets – Offensive Quality Control
2012: New York Jets – Assistant Tight Ends/Quality Control
2013: Carolina Panthers – Assistant Wide Receivers
2014: Stanford – Running Backs
2015: Stanford – Running Backs
2016: Stanford – Running Backs
2017: Carolina Panthers – Wide Receivers
2018: Carolina Panthers – Wide Receivers
2007: Independence Bowl
2008: Sugar Bowl
2009: NCAA Division I FCS Semifinals
2014: Foster Farms Bowl
2015: Rose Bowl
2016: Sun Bowl
— ND —