Western Michigan hires Louisville OC Lance Taylor as coach

Western Michigan has hired Louisville offensive coordinator Lance Taylor to be the school's next head coach, pending Board approval.

Terms were not disclosed but sources told ESPN that Taylor received a five-year contract.

Taylor, 41, is a veteran college and NFL assistant who left Notre Dame in January to be Louisville's offensive coordinator for the 2022 season. The move up to coordinator was done in part to prepare him for becoming a head coach.

That opportunity will be at Western Michigan, one of the MAC's top jobs. Western Michigan fired coach Tim Lester after a 5-7 season and a 37-32 record over six years.

First-year Western Michigan athletic director Dan Bartholomae made the decision in part because Western Michigan hadn't reached the MAC title game during Lester's tenure. In his comments to the media after Lester's firing, Bartholomae laid out the personality archetype for whom he'd like to hire: "Relentless energy," he said. "I want somebody who walks in the room and picks everyone up who's around them, who inspires you to be greater, who inspires the team to be greater."

In Taylor, Bartholomae is getting a coach with a reputation as that caliber of a connector. He developed a strong reputation in college circles coaching Christian McCaffrey as the running back coach at Stanford and served as Notre Dame running backs coach and run game coordinator, tutoring Kyren Williams and Tony Jones Jr.

At both stops, Taylor developed a reputation as a strong recruiter, including landing Bryce Love at Stanford and Chris Tyree and Logan Diggs at Notre Dame. He also spent two seasons in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers in 2017-18. Taylor began his career as a Nick Saban graduate assistant at Alabama. He's an Alabama graduate and former special teams captain.

Taylor's first season at WMU is scheduled to include games at Syracuse, Mississippi State and Iowa.