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Sep 19, 2018

Ross Taylor

By: TIM BOURRET

Note: The following appears in the Georgia Southern gameday football program


Between Oct. 1, 1955 and July 13, 2018, Clemson had nine different head football coaches, six presidents, five athletic directors, five play-by-play announcers and five NCAA faculty representatives, but just two football directors of communications, formerly known as sports information directors.

That football communications job is a good one, and I can give testimony to that because I followed Bob Bradley in the position on July 1, 1989 after he held the job from Oct. 1, 1955. That is just two directors in 63 seasons covering 721 football games. Bradley was in charge of 357 games over 34 years, and I had 364 games over 29 years.

On July 16, 2018, a new director of football communications took over. Ross Taylor came to Clemson from the Washington Redskins, where he worked seven years. At age 30, he has a chance to continue the tradition of Clemson directors of communications who had a lengthy career.

Taylor grew up in Dallas, Texas and is a graduate of the nationally-renowned Missouri School of Journalism. While he did not have any family ties to Clemson, when he heard I was retiring, it did not take him long to research the position.

“I have always been a football fan. One day when I was a kid, I was sitting around with my brother. We were talking about our bucket list of college stadiums we wanted to visit. Going to Clemson and watching the team run down the Hill was one of the first ones we listed.”

It also seems that the performances of a certain Tiger quarterback from 1998-01 also had an impact on Taylor.

“It always seemed like Clemson played big games on TV, and the games were thrilling. I remember how exciting Woody Dantzler was as a quarterback. I loved Clemson’s offense.”
Taylor also had a favorable impression of Clemson from the people he met during his years with the Redskins.

“I had worked with players, scouts and administrators who were connected to Clemson, and everyone I came across told me how much they loved the school.”

Most people don’t have their life’s path planned when they are in high school, but Taylor is an exception. From the time he was in high school, he knew he wanted to work in sports.

“I was a big fan of the Cowboys and the Dallas Stars (NHL team). The Cowboys won three Super Bowls in four years when I was growing up.

“This was a time when you had to read The Dallas Morning News the next day to really learn about the team, so I became an avid reader of that sports section. It made me interested in journalism.”

With that keen interest, Taylor sought out the top journalism schools in the nation, and Missouri was among the best. As a student, he earned considerable experience, then he landed an internship with The Dallas Morning News in the summer of 2010.

His experience at that newspaper refined his interests.

“I had the opportunity to work with some of the PR people in Dallas when I was working on stories, and I became more and more interested in what they did. I saw their passion for their teams, and it made me interested in their jobs.”

After graduating form Missouri in December 2010, he began applying for PR jobs with pro teams near Dallas and in the Washington D.C., area, because he had a relative who lived in Virginia.

Ironically, the kid who grew up rooting for the Dallas Cowboys got his best lead for an internship with the NFC East rival Redskins. So in the late summer of 2011, he began as an intern for the Redskins and continued to move up the ladder until he became the team’s director of communications, a position he held until Clemson came calling.

He is off to a great start in his new position, and he has been impressed with all phases of the Dabo Swinney’s program.

“Coach Swinney has established a great culture here. You can see that in the players I deal with when it comes to preparing for interviews. They have an eagerness to learn and to improve.”

It is evident that Taylor’s NFL experience is going to benefit Clemson student-athletes.

“I haven’t been here long enough to see a lot of differences between working in the NFL and college. But a lot of the players in the NFL have been doing this for many years. I hope to have a positive influence on the Clemson players as they prepare for the next level.”

We hope he has that positive influence at Clemson for years to come.

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