DARON K. ROBERTS
Daron K. Roberts is a former NFL and college coach who serves as founding director of the Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation (CSLi) at the University of Texas.
He created CSLi in the fall of 2014. The Center is the first university-based institute dedicated to developing leadership and character curricula for high school, collegiate, and professional athletes. It is the only student-athlete leadership center at the FBS level that reports directly to the Office of the President.
Through the Center, Roberts teaches a course – A Gameplan for Winning at Life – to incoming freshmen student-athletes. To date, the course has reached 1,600 students. His research revolves around issues of rejection, failure management, student-athlete financial literacy, and leadership. Roberts launched the #iLEAD Speakers Series and has interviewed Mia Hamm, Shaun White, Lance Armstrong, Aly Raisman, and Brené Brown among others.
In January of 2018, the Center inked a monumental partnership. CSLi secured financial backing from NBA All-Star and University of Texas alumnus, Kevin Durant.
As a highly sought after leadership coach, Daron equips executives and elite athletes with strategies to wage war against their status quo. He has worked with companies such as Google, Facebook, Coca-Cola, and The New York Giants Football Club.
Roberts holds a faculty appointment in the Liberal Arts Honors Program. He has received the Silver Spurs Centennial Teaching Award, Creative Engagement Award, and was named a distinguished faculty member by the School of Undergraduate Studies in 2015. In 2011, he was awarded the university’s highest distinction for young alumni by being named an Outstanding Young Texas Ex.
After graduating from Harvard Law School (2007), Roberts served coaching stints with the Kansas City Chiefs, Detroit Lions, West Virginia Mountaineers, and Cleveland Browns. He holds a B.A. in Plan II Honors and Government from the University of Texas (2001) and an M.P.P. from Harvard’s Kennedy School (2004).
In 2010, Daron launched a nonprofit football camp – 4th and 1, Inc. 4th and 1 has provided free SAT prep, life skills development and football training to at-risk youth in Michigan, Texas, and Florida. The camp has served nearly 500 student-athletes 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.
Roberts is the author of A Kids Book About Empathy and Call an Audible. Call an Audible was named a #1 New Release by Amazon. Sports Illustrated selected the book as one of its “Best Sports Business Books of 2017.”
He has been featured in ESPN the Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, and Sports Illustrated. His articles have appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Fortune, Houston Chronicle, and Time.
Daron and his wife have five children – Dylan, Sydney, Jackson, Delaney, and Micah.
Taylor Brown is a former elite rower and coach and is the Associate Director for 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.