After five seasons, Taye Diggs has departed All American.
In a tragic plot twist that left fans shaken, the actor’s character coach Billy Baker met an unfortunate demise on the Monday, Feb. 13 episode of the CW football drama.
The episode titled “Time” showed Billy and the team involved in a bus crash after blowing out a tire on the way home from Crenshaw High School’s football combine. At first, it appeared everyone got off the bus with only minor injuries. But when he realized one of the players was missing, Billy went back onto the bus to rescue the player and ended up getting killed in the process.
The episode did not show the specific details of his death. But Billy’s son Jordan (Michael Evans Behling) delivered the news to his family and Billy’s protégé Spencer (Daniel Ezra) that the coach had died. “He’s gone,” Jordan said.
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Diggs spoke with Entertainment Weekly about his departure from the series. In an interview published Monday night, the actor said he discussed his exit with showrunner Nkechi Okoro Carroll.
“I approached [Okoro Carroll] very tentatively and said, ‘I haven’t made any decisions, but this is what I’m thinking,’ and she understood,” Diggs recalled. “From that point on, she started giving me ideas of how I’d exit and they were so great. As soon as she told me what she was thinking, I loved it. I love being on the show. Actors just have an inner feeling. I had done all that I could and this chapter had kind of closed and I was willing to try something else.”
While The Best Man and Rent alum said he’s ready for a new challenge, All American fans took to Twitter to express their disappointment.
“Aww why would y’all kill off Coach Baker on All American?? Y’all doin too much. Lordy I’m in my feelings. @TayeDiggs, that was a dagger. #AllAmerican,” one viewer tweeted.
“I need a moment with the writers of ‘All American’ because how do you kill off Billy Baker?!? THEE BILLY BAKER,” another person posted on Twitter.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to enjoy @CWAllAmerican the same way without @TayeDiggs as Billy Baker. It truly just brought tears to my eyes man,” another person tweeted.
“What the hell? I had no idea #Tayediggs was leaving #AllAmerican billy & spencer made the show, what is a girl to do now I watched the show because of the relationship they shared as African American men,” someone else tweeted.
Diggs has starred on the series since it premiered in 2018. His shocking exit came just a few weeks after the series was renewed for a sixth season.
All American airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW.