Shawn Taylor, 31, has spent almost half his life at Robinson High — as a student, football player and assistant football coach. On Thursday, it was confirmed that Taylor will be spending much more time with his beloved Knights as head football coach.
"There is no place else I'd rather be," said Taylor, who graduated from Robinson in 2000 and had coached the Knights' offensive line since 2003, starting his coaching career with almost two years left in his college curriculum.
Taylor, who graduated from the University of Tampa in 2004 with a degree in education, said he hopes to keep Robinson's current staff in place, including offensive coordinator Rob Burns, who was a finalist for the Knights' head coaching position.
Retiring Robinson coach Mike DePue, the Knights' all-time victories leader with a 72-43 record in 10 years, said he couldn't be happier with Taylor's selection.
"I am ecstatic that it was kept in the Robinson family," DePue said. "Shawn will step in and the program will not miss a beat. The last thing I wanted to see was the breakup of the program's continuity."
Next season, Robinson — which advanced to the Class 5A state semifinals this past season before losing to Tallahassee Godby 24-20 — has its work cut out for it after losing 25 seniors, including 15 starters. The Knights also move up to Class 6A and into a district with powerhouses Armwood, Hillsborough and Jefferson, along with Blake, Chamberlain, King, Leto and Lennard.
Taylor, who teaches world history at Robinson, said he's still plenty optimistic, with plans to build on the strong foundations laid down by DePue and the current Knights staff.
"We will focus on academics, improving the facilities and developing strong character," Taylor said. "We want to be champions in the classroom and on the field."