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When the George Fox safety's time as a player ends, he hopes to coach at the college level

COURTESY PHOTO: BEN BLAIR - Canby alumnus and George Fox safety Austin Taylor (no. 3) hopes to coach after college.Canby alumnus Austin Taylor has many teachers in college, and one that teaches him life lessons is one he has been familiar with since a child. That teacher? The game of football.

A senior at George Fox University studying business administration, Taylor has his plate full with classes and being a member of the school's football team. It was a busy season that saw the former Cougar rack up 73 total tackles, on par with his career best from last year. All told, the 5'11" safety has 177 tackles in his college career, along with 8 interceptions.

Part of the reason he's really tallied the stats in his senior year is compounding all of the little lessons, practices, and workouts into an ever improving final result.

"Every year, every football season, you get more and more experience," Taylor said. "Just the reps and stuff always make you become a better player. Also, the strength and conditioning program helps you become a little bit faster, a little bit stronger each year. I think it's everything overall, and also your football IQ grows. You see how offenses are just trying to attack you and stuff like that. It's a mixture of it all."

As a college athlete, Taylor came in after George Fox restarted its football program in 2014 after a 45-year hiatus. In its first season, the team went just 1-8. Slowly over the last four years, the team has improved to the right side of .500. In 2015 the record was 4-6; in 2016, 5-4; last year the record was 7-3; and at the end of the 2018 season, George Fox had put together a 6-4 record, including a 4-3 conference record.

To be a part of a team that has built itself back up from nothing has definitely been a positive experience for Taylor, who realized it was not going to be an overnight success.

"Obviously when you start a program there's a lot of work to do when you're starting from scratch," Taylor said. "It's kind of fun to see all the work put in, all of the commitment that people have had to make, and to see people grow. It takes a lot to win just one college football game. So to see all of the hard work and how much we've grow is pretty cool."

While his time as a player is waning, Taylor still plans on being involved in football after college. The longtime athlete is eyeing a role as a coach at the college level, having participated in several training camps with his native personnel at George Fox, but also working with coaches at Clemson, University of Texas, and Washington as well. While he has his goal set, the coaching prospect is still trying to learn and network as best he can.

"I'm not sure what my dream coaching gig would be, honestly," Taylor said. "I'm just trying to get my foot in the door, first off, and learn. I'd like to see how much I could learn and grow, and go from there."

Why would he stick with the sport? For one, he's been competing at a high level for some time. Taylor was the with the last Canby squad to make a deep stab into the playoffs back in 2014, and has been a part of a competitive George Fox team for the past four years.

But football has also taught defensive standout much more than how to win, and how to lose. It's taught him about working hard, attitude, and teamwork, among other things. It's the reason he thinks that everyone should give football, and athletics generally, an honest go.

"I think any athletics are great," Taylor said. "Just being a part of a team and all of the things it teaches you. I think football especially. Other sports you might have just one guy who can carry you, but I feel that football is all 11 guys on every play."

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