Zac Taylor could be first former Husker player named NFL head coach since the NFL-AFL merger

Zac Taylor could be first former Husker player named NFL head coach since the NFL-AFL merger
Former Nebraska quarterback Zac Taylor was named head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Former Nebraska quarterback Zac Taylor is poised to join an exclusive group.

Taylor, who is the favorite to be the next Cincinnati Bengals coach, would be the third former Husker — and first since the merger — hired in that role.

Taylor, the Rams’ QB coach, has been credited as a key cog in an explosive offense that produced the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs.

Former All-Americans Guy Chamberlin and Ray Richards coached the NFL’s Cardinals. Chamberlain lettered at NU in 1914 and 1915 while Richards lettered from 1927 to 1929.

Chamberlin coached the Chicago Cardinals in 1927, compiling a 3-7-1 record. He also coached the now-defunct Canton and Cleveland Bulldogs and the Frankford Yellow Jackets. Chamberlin compiled a 58-16-7 record in six seasons and owns the best win percentage (.759) of any coach in NFL history with a minimum of 50 wins. He is a member of the Nebraska Sports Hall of Fame (1951), the College Football Hall of Fame (1962), the Pro Football Hall of Fame (1965) and the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame (1971).

Ray Richards directed the Chicago Cardinals from 1955-57, going 14-21-1. He was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 1984.

One other former Husker served as an NFL coach. In 1961, Ray Prochaska was the interim coach of the St. Louis Cardinals — under unique circumstances.

From the Arizona Cardinals’ media guide: “Head Coach Frank ‘Pop’ Ivy resigns with two games remaining … Cards win both remaining contests as assistants Chuck Drulis, Ray Prochaska, and Ray Willsey assume coaching reins.”

Including Chamberlin and Richards, six NFL coaches were born in Nebraska. Lane Kiffin, who was born in Lincoln in 1975, coached the Oakland Raiders for part of two seasons to a 5-15 record. Rod Dowhower, born in Ord in 1943, led the Indianapolis Colts to a 5-24 record in two years. Milan Creighton, who was born in Gothenburg in 1908, directed the Chicago Cardinals for four seasons and compiled a 16-26-4 record. Paul Schissler, born in Hastings in 1893, coached for four seasons with a 14-29-3 mark. He led the NFL’s Chicago Cardinals and Brooklyn Dodgers.

Nebraska has also had its share of ex-players serve as NFL coordinators. Most notably was Monte Kiffin, who won a Super Bowl as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defensive coordinator. Kiffin, Lane Kiffin’s father, was also Nebraska’s defensive coordinator from 1973 to 1976.

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