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Remembering Phil Taylor

The Horned Frog family said goodbye to one of its toughest fighters earlier this week.

Fighter. Frog.

These two words are the simplest way to describe Phil Taylor, a former walk-on football player at TCU. As I’m sure many have heard, Phil Taylor passed away earlier this week after a long battle with stage 4 cancer.

Two words cannot define what Phil Taylor meant to the Horned Frogs community and this article in no way can grasp the impact he had on so many people around TCU, both during his time as a student and his time as an alum. However, it is important to share his story. Phil was one of the most passionate Horned Frogs that I had the pleasure of knowing and was a fighter in so many different ways.

I first met Phil in the fall of 2013, when I was a freshman at TCU and still learning my way around. My Frog Camp facilitator was showing me around during my first weekend on campus and he lived with Phil near the campus. Phil was one of the very first people I met upon arriving in Fort Worth and when I first met him, I never would have guessed he was a football player. This wasn’t because he didn’t look like a player, but because he didn’t really bring it up. In getting to know him over the years, I learned he was extremely passionate about being a TCU Football player, but he always carried himself with such humility that you never would have guessed it.

Phil Taylor carried that same humility with him in his battle with cancer. We weren’t close friends, but rather friends who always said hi to each other when our paths crossed, which was frequent due to our love for sports and the relationships we had at TCU. Much like I had no idea he was a football player, I also would have never guessed he had such an aggressive form of cancer despite meeting with him a few times between his diagnosis and when I learned the news. That was just who he was - he didn’t want to share the news because he didn’t want others to feel sorry for him.

Fighting for Phil didn’t mean just physically fighting the cancer - it meant living his life the way he always had. It meant continuing to follow his passions and to serve others with a kind heart and a smile on his face. Many times he could be seen at Horned Frog athletic events covering it for various sports media outlets. Phil also served as a football coach at Prince of Peace Christian School. Cancer didn’t hold Phil back and he never let it defeat him. Stuart Scott in his famous speech when accepting the Jimmy V Award said “You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live” and there is no doubt in my mind that Phil Taylor BEAT cancer.

Not only did Phil have an effect on my life for the better, but he has also made an impact on other former and current Frogs O’ War writers, as well as countless teammates and others in the Frog family. Below is just a small sample of the impact Phil had on others.

“I had the great pleasure of calling Phil Taylor a friend during our four years in the TCU Sports Broadcasting program. Phil had the uncanny ability to always have a smile on his face. Whether it was a 6:00 a.m. call time to prep for a morning soccer broadcast, or a 7:00 p.m. baseball game that ran late into the night, it was impossible to not instantly feel better when in Phil’s presence. One of his many admirable qualities was his unwavering faith – in God, his friends, and his beloved Horned Frogs. The outpouring of love and support across social media is further proof just how many people in Phil’s life felt this way. He was truly a great friend and I, along with so many others, will miss him so very much.” - Andrew Felts

Phil had an incredible impact on the entire TCU Athletics family.

Of course some of those who will miss Phil the most are those who shared the locker room with him.

One group in particular, fellow walk-ons, were impacted greatly by his presence and how he helped them as they joined the team.

His story and impact was felt by more than just the TCU Football community, but by many Frogs.

As we keep his family in our thoughts and prayers, let us also keep his Prince of Peace Football family in our thoughts and prayers as well. They have lost a coach who surely served as a positive role model for those who played for him.

One of the quotes every Horned Frog knows is the famous Dutch Meyer line, “Fight ‘em until hell freezes over. Then fight ‘em on the ice!” For many, being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer would be the equivalent of hell freezing over, and I know personally, I’m not sure I could fight the same way Phil did. He never gave up, he never quit, he kept fighting everyday and in every way.

The thoughts and experiences shared with Phil in this article is not enough to truly show the depth and scope of the impact he had on the TCU community, but for those who did not know Phil personally, I hope this shows what our Frog family lost this past week. While many others had the privilege to know him and share experiences with him, I think Phil’s own words do the most justice in getting to know who he truly was.

That’s who Phil Taylor was.

Fighter. Frog. Forever.