Utah offensive coordinator Troy Taylor is considered a strong candidate for Sacramento State’s head coaching position, although he would have to take a major pay cut to return to his hometown.
Taylor is among four coaches with local ties being evaluated by the Hornets, according to the Football Scoop website that closely tracks the coaching profession.
Taylor earned $525,000 in 2018, plus an $87,500 bonus, according to USA Today.
Going from a Power Five coordinator’s job to an FCS head coaching position would be an unconventional move, so only Taylor’s ties to Sacramento seemingly would make him interested in talking with the Hornets after two seasons at Utah.
Head coaching salaries in the FCS, including schools such as Sacramento State of the Big Sky Conference, are roughly half of Taylor’s current income, with rare exceptions.
Utah lost two assistants this week, with defensive line coach Gary Andersen becoming Utah State’s head coach. Andersen is taking linebackers coach Justin Ena with him as the Aggies' defensive coordinator.
Taylor attended Utah's practice Thursday; assistant coaches were not available to the media. Ute coach Kyle Whittingham allowed for the possibility of more movement, after a year when his staff remained intact (Andersen was added in January when the NCAA allowed a 10th coach).
“It's just how it is: When you have success, those things seem to happen more prevalently,” Whittingham said.
If Taylor leaves, Whittingham would have to hire or promote a ninth play-caller in 11 seasons.
After a rough early phase of the season, Taylor was credited with reviving Utah’s offense in October and then helping steer the Utes to the Pac-12 South championship in November after losing quarterback Tyler Huntley and running back Zack Moss to injuries. Huntley is expected to return for the Dec. 31 Holiday Bowl vs. Northwestern in San Diego.
Even after posting only 188 yards in a 10-3 loss to Washington in the Pac-12 championship game, the Utes rank sixth in the conference in total offense, averaging 413.2 yards. In regular-season conference games, they tied for fourth in scoring (30.8 points).
Taylor worked at Eastern Washington in 2016 before coming to Utah. Prior to that, he was a highly successful co-head coach at Folsom High School, near Sacramento.
Sacramento State fired coach Jody Sears following a 2-8 season, a year after the former Weber State coach went 7-4 and received a contract extension as the Big Sky's co-coach of the year.
Other candidates, Football Scoop said, include Nevada offensive line coach Angus McClure, American River College coach Jon Osterhout and former Colorado co-offensive coordinator Klayton Adams, who was part of the Mike MacIntyre staff that was fired in November.