Administrator Profile: David Taylor, University’s chief of staff
Soccer-playing Southerner fills many roles on campus
As the AU President’s Chief of Staff, David Taylor has the ability and experience to cover a lot of bases.
“I’m the administration’s utility infielder,” laughed the soccer player turned coach and Atlanta native.
He grew up in Atlanta, near Emory University and considers himself a true Southerner — he said he can cook “a mean shrimp and grits.”
“I can make one-syllable words three if I need to, and I say that with affection,” he said.
Taylor now oversees a variety of different projects for AU in his role as chief of staff.
“AU has been a very good place to work,” he said.
Taylor steps into whatever roles are empty, and these projects can last anywhere between a few weeks and a few years.
Taylor’s daily activities lately include responding to anywhere from 50 to 80 e-mails a day and working on the campus plan.
He assisted President Neil Kerwin in overseeing the Athletics Department before Athletics Director Keith Gill was hired in March 2007 for about a year. Taylor also temporarily oversaw the Communications and Media Department until Teresa Flannery was hired in 2008.
His biggest project is currently supervising the campus plan, in addition to managing WAMU and the Office of Special Events.
Taylor worked as WAMU’s interim General Manager for about a year and a half, from October 2003 to March 2005. Now he supervises the radio station and its current GM Caryn Mathes from a distance.
“I enjoy watching Caryn be successful,” he said.
But as the interim GM, he made it onto the air once to thank donors for their contributions to the station.
“[This job] is constantly changing; it’s never dull,” he said. “That’s the thing that keeps me going — it’s the variety.”
Although he works in the president’s office, Taylor said his duties don’t revolve around Kerwin solely.
“I’m working for an individual, for a person, but I’m also working on behalf of the University,” he said.
Taylor majored in journalism at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill as an undergraduate and again as a graduate at the University of Georgia. He said studying journalism “merged” his two passions of history and English.
He is an avid English soccer fan and follows it more closely than the NFL. He was glued to the TV during the World Cup this summer. “I was actually cheering for England the whole way through, even against the United States.”
He learned how to kick with his left foot during his high school soccer career and was later recruited to play soccer for UNC-Chapel Hill as an undergraduate. “Probably ultimately how I got to college [soccer was that] I could kick with my left foot.”
Taylor’s day is not complete without a mocha from the Davenport Lounge and at least two bars of Hershey’s dark chocolate. “I’m not saying it’s healthy, but it’s what I do,” he said.
To counteract the sugar, Taylor coaches his 9-year-old daughter’s soccer team. He also coached his 14-year-old son’s team until recently. His team’s practices center around three areas: individual skills, teamwork and game strategy. “All that adds up into a satisfying result, hopefully,” he said.