Eric Taylor
First appearance Pilot
Name Eric Taylor
(Former) profession Head Coach of West Dillon Panthers (formerly)

Head Coach of East Dillon Lions

Played by Kyle Chandler

The varsity football coach of the Dillon Panthers. Under immense pressure to succeed, he is constantly conflicted between what is right and what will win. He doesn't seem to approve of his daughter and Matt Saracen, the team quarterback, dating. He has accepted a coaching job in Austin at fictional Texas Methodist University (TMU), and the team gets the news right before the championship game.

In the second season, Taylor returns to Dillon after his replacement is fired for poor performance. He quits his job at TMU because of the strain the long distance is putting on his marriage. He is often a surrogate father figure to his players, especially those who are lacking a true father. This is highlighted most in his relationship with Saracen.

In the third season, Taylor struggles deciding whether to start Saracen, a senior, or J.D. McCoy, a freshman, at quarterback for the team. After Saracen struggled through the first couple games, McCoy took over. Saracen sat on the bench for most of the rest of the season, until he convinced Coach Taylor to let him play wide receiver. Saracen returned to his old position during the state championship game after McCoy struggled.

In the final episode of the third season, while Coach Taylor and were making a visit to a possible recruit who just moved into town, the coach learns of a plot to have him replaced as head coach of the Dillon Panthers. They learn that J.D. McCoy's dad, Joe McCoy, wants Taylor replaced with Wade Achemann, J.D.'s personal coach. As the school's administration meets to decide who gets the coaching job, Achemann is offered the job at Dillon High School, while Taylor is offered the job at East Dillon High School, which is reopening after years of being closed.

Season 4

Coach is moved to be the head coach of the East Dillon Lions. He has nothing to work with.