Daron K. Roberts

Founding Director

Daron K. Roberts is a former NFL and college football coach and the founding director of the Center for Sports Leadership & Innovation (CSLi) at the University of Texas, the first university-based institute dedicated to developing leadership and character curricula for high school and college athletes. Roberts is also the best-selling author of Call an Audible: Let My Pivot from Harvard Law to NFL Coach Inspire Your Transition. The book was named one of Sports Illustrated’s Best Sports Business Books of 2017.

Roberts has a proven track record in improving management systems and developing leadership strategy in both the private and public sectors. He has been featured in ESPN the MagazineBloomberg Businessweek and Sports Illustrated. Roberts also teaches three courses at the University of Texas: Leadership Strategy in Sports, Disruptive Innovation in Sports and A Game Plan for Winning at Life—a course Roberts developed himself and teaches to every incoming freshman student-athlete at the university. During the course of each academic year, Roberts teaches over 300 students.

Roberts is a contributor to, and and his writing has appeared in The Dallas Morning NewsFortuneHouston ChronicleTexas CEO Magazine and Time.

Roberts holds a bachelor’s in Plan II Honors and Government from the University of Texas (2001), where he served as student body president. He then worked as an aide to Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut before continuing his education at Harvard where he earned a Master of Public Policy degree from the Kennedy School of Government (2004) and a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School (2007).

The Harvard Kennedy School of Government recognized Roberts as one of its 75 Most Fascinating Alumni and the World Economic Forum pegged Roberts a Young Global Leader for creating 4th and 1, a nonprofit football camp that provides SAT prep, life skills development and football training to at-risk youth.4th and 1 has served nearly 500 student-athletes in Michigan, Texas and Florida since 2010.

The Presidential Leadership Foundation – a joint venture between Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush – tabbed Roberts as a Presidential Leadership Scholar for 2015. He was one of 60 members in the inaugural class.

Taylor Brown

Associate Director

Taylor Brown is a former elite rower and coach and is the Associate Director at the Center for Sports Leadership & Innovation (CSLi).

Brown holds a bachelor’s in psychology from Brown University, where he was a four-year member of the varsity rowing team, and a master’s in sports management from the University of Texas.

After completing his undergraduate degree in 2012, Brown initially pursued a career in sports psychology; however, after spending a year interning at a private psychiatry practice, he felt drawn to the operational and managerial elements of sports and decided to pursue his master’s in sports management at UT.

Brown earned a Texas New Scholars Fellowship, and while pursuing his master’s, he conducted research in the Sport and Development Lab and the Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sport on a wide variety of topics, including sports psychology, sport development, the history of sport and physical culture and more. This experience helped solidify his already strong background in research.

Brown also trained and competed at the elite level in rowing, a sport that he had started in high school. During his career as an elite rower, Brown had the opportunity to train with some of the country’s best coaches and race all around the United States, and even abroad in Henley-on-Thames, England. To finish out his graduate program, Brown wrote his master’s thesis on psychological resilience in sport.

After graduating from UT in 2015, Brown began coaching with the UT varsity women’s rowing team, where he was a volunteer assistant, and the Austin Rowing Club. During the 2015-2016 season, the UT women finished eighth in the country and the Austin Rowing Club men’s high school team took eighth at the Youth National Championships.

Brown continued to row at the elite level until 2017 when he sustained a back injury and made the tough decision to retire. Redirected and re-inspired, Brown joined the executive staff at CSLi, putting to work his passion for bringing out the best in others.