Colorado reporter Taylor Kilgore after Nuggets win NBA Finals. Colorado reporter Taylor Kilgore after Nuggets win NBA Finals. Photo via Taylor Kilgore Twitter.

A lot is going on in Colorado these days. The Denver Broncos have a new coach in Sean Payton, the Colorado Buffaloes have a new coach in Deion Sanders and will soon have a new conference home (back to the Big 12), and the Denver Nuggets are the new NBA champions.

We thought it would be a good time to chat with Fox31 Denver’s Taylor Kilgore. Kilgore, who also hosts Colorado Sports Night weeknights, shared her thoughts on a busy sports year.

Awful Announcing: Why do you think Sean Payton walked back his comments about Nathaniel Hackett?

Taylor Kilgore: “I think he was transparent in the interview and was transparent about the fact that ‘I should have had more of a filter. I’m no longer a member of the media. That’s on me.’ He was super transparent that next day and said ‘Hey, this reporter is a buddy of mine, had a couple of lattes and the conversation was flowing.’ I think he was just fired up. First days of camp for a guy like Sean, especially after a year away, he’s excited about being out here and getting to work. He was candid, not realizing that every word he was saying was going to be national news.”

What did you think of Payton’s frankness?

“So much in our business, we’re hoping for openness and transparency in a world of coach-speak and PR answers. I appreciated the dialogue. It definitely gave us something to talk about. I’m sure he didn’t appreciate having his first headlines of camp being centered around him. But as he told us: ‘lesson learned.'”

How has Russell Wilson been different?

“He looks a little more trim. He told us that he wanted to have his best offseason ever. It’s clear that he has been working. He looks like he’s in shape. He looks like a guy who is taking this new system in stride and is excited about it. He’s still Russell Wilson. He’s so positive. But I think he also recognizes that last year was a pretty tough year. I think no one is more motivated than him to turn this thing around.”

Has Wilson given a reason as to why he struggled last year?

“No. I don’t think Russ is going to go into specifics. He said ‘Last year is last year.’ I think everyone here, especially with Sean Payton leading the way, is prepared to leave last year in the past. Sean Payton had this message when he got here: ‘The rearview mirror has been taken off. We’re done. That was a different time, and we’re moving forward.’ I think Russell Wilson feels the same way.”

What has been the reaction to Colorado returning to the Big 12?

“Excitement. A lot of people are excited about a lot of the changes from the hiring of Deion Sanders, which has reignited that entire fanbase, to this decision. I think everyone is excited about the potential and the ceiling of the program for the first time in a long time. They’re going back to the Big 12 where they’ve had success.”

What is it like covering Deion Sanders?

“A dream. He’s a lot of fun. Since Day One, Boulder is the place to be. If he’s talking, we’re there. The Karl Dorrell years were pretty rough just because of COVID and the lack of success. To bring in a guy like Coach Prime who changes an entire culture in a day is pretty cool. People are excited about the season. They’re excited about him and what could happen in the future.”

Could you describe what the Nuggets championship parade was like?

“Three-quarters of a million people packing the streets of Denver. It was incredible. To be a part of that run, this city was on fire for the Denver Nuggets. This is Broncos country, but I think you can consider Denver a basketball town now.”

Does any particular memory stand out?

“We’re spoiled here in Denver. I covered the Stanley Cup parade last year. I was on a fire truck for both. This city loves its Avalanche. I assumed (the crowd) would be the same for the Nuggets. But to see 250,000 estimated more than the Avs parade was shocking. It was breathtaking to see. You saw people hanging out of windows and on telephone poles throughout the route.”

Your husband Scott is an assistant basketball coach at Division II Regis University in Denver. How has that impacted you?

“We’ve been married for 5 years. We’ve been together for 12. We both played basketball at (Division II) Humboldt State in California. I come from a family of coaches. My dad was a (high school girls) basketball coach. My brother is a coach on staff with the Broncos. With my husband being a coach, I think it gives me a unique perspective because I see it from all angles. I love talking about sports from a coach’s perspective as well as hearing it straight from the players.”

Has your brother Logan Kilgore being a Broncos offensive quality control coach made it difficult to be a reporter?

“Nope. Not at all. I host a sports show, and I have a lot of analysts on my show. I’m a reporter as well, but I’m a host. We have a good relationship, and I love rooting him on. To see my brother out there coaching up these guys makes it even more special.”

About Michael Grant

Born in Jamaica. Grew up in New York City. Lives in Louisville, Ky. Sports writer. Not related to Ulysses S. Grant.