Why did Taye Diggs leave All American? (How did Coach Baker die?)

All American -- “Time” -- Image Number: ALA511a_0449r -- Pictured: Taye Diggs as Billy Baker -- Photo: Troy Harvey/The CW -- © 2023 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
All American -- “Time” -- Image Number: ALA511a_0449r -- Pictured: Taye Diggs as Billy Baker -- Photo: Troy Harvey/The CW -- © 2023 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

After last airing on May 15 on The CW, All American season 5 was finally released on Netflix on May 23. As expected, it didn’t take long for the sports drama to rise up the streamer’s top 10 list, ranking at the No. 2 spot as of May 30. Tons of people are watching the latest season, and questions regarding it are circulating all over the internet.

One of the questions about the fifth season concerns Coach Baker (Taye Diggs). People want to know how he meets his unfortunate demise in All American season 5. So if you haven’t watched the fifth season in its entirety, you might want to click off this article because we’re about to enter spoiler territory.

Not only will we explain how Coach Baker dies in the fifth season, but we will also share why Taye Diggs decided to exit the popular sports drama series.

Spoilers from All American season 5 ahead.

How did Coach Baker die in All American season 5?

Coach Baker dies in episode 11 of the fifth season. On their way back home from a scouting combine, Coach Baker, Asher, and the South Crenshaw High School football team are involved in a bus crash. The bus gets a flat tire, causing the bus driver to lose control of the bus. The bus ultimately ends up on its side at the edge of a cliff.

Everyone ends up surviving the crash and makes it off the bus, but Coach Baker realizes Jabari is missing and gets back on the bus to save him. Grace tells him not to get back on the bus teetering on the cliff’s edge, but he ignores her pleas. Although we don’t actually see Coach Baker’s death scene, the next scene shows Jordan and Grace relay the bad news to Spencer, Olivia, and the others. Coach Baker’s death is believed to have happened as the bus fell off the cliff.

Why did Taye Diggs leave All American?

Fans were not happy to see Taye Diggs’s character meet his demise in the fifth season. Unfortunately, this meant he wouldn’t be returning to the series for future seasons. But it looks like Diggs’s exit had been decided after the fourth season ended and before plans for the fifth season were made. Showrunner Nkechi Okoro Carroll spoke with Deadline about Diggs’s departure.

Here’s what Nkechi Okoro Carroll had to say about Diggs’s exit from the sports drama:

"“At the beginning and end of every season, I have a conversation with the cast about the journey of their character, and it was in those conversations for Taye that we started talking about, ‘Is Billy’s journey on the show over? And if so, what would an exit look like?’ To me, there was only ever one exit for Billy if he was leaving, because the character would never leave after fighting so hard for his family. He’s not going to leave his wife and kids to go take a job in Florida. So I sort of set the tone of, if we feel like this is the right time, this is how it would happen. I knew going into Season 5 that was what we were going to do.”“Everything that we lined up for Season 5 was knowing that in the middle of the season, they would lose Billy. It was very thought out in terms of what storyline we’d be building up to, so that him leaving at that moment would really impact our cast and allow us to really explore a new chapter of their lives in a different way with that loss so that it didn’t just feel arbitrary.”"

According to Carroll, she had a conversation with Diggs at the end of the fourth season about his departure and how it would happen, and Diggs thought it felt like the right time and the right way to end his character’s journey.

Here’s what Diggs had to say regarding why he decided it was time he leaves the series:

"“I had done all that I could and this chapter had kind of closed and I was willing to try something else.”"

So, it looks like one of the reasons for Diggs’s exit was that he was ready to take on new roles. Although we’re sad that we won’t be seeing Diggs in future seasons of the sports drama, we’re looking forward to seeing what he’ll star in next.

All American seasons 1-5 are streaming now only on Netflix.

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