Toliver helps coach Matanzas High School football receivers with former NFL player Kyle Johnson.
T.T. Toliver would prefer to talk about his kids than himself.
That includes his 10-year-old son, Nyliek, who his dad says is a natural at quarterback. It also includes the football players Toliver is now coaching at Matanzas High School.
"I'm enjoying it, watching how these kids battle, how hard they work, and I'm surrounded by good coaches," Toliver said.
"T.T was phenomenal. He's one of a kind."
JOE GIDDENS, Mainland boys basketball coach
Those who followed Toliver's career in the Arena Football League or remember him as a two-sport star at Mainland High School in the mid-1990s are often tongue-tied in trying to describe his athletic skills.
"T.T. was phenomenal," said former Bucs teammate Joe Giddens. "He's one of a kind. He'd catch punts, start walking while everybody was running and then he'd make a move and score a touchdown."
Toliver, 44, played in the AFL for 17 years, retiring in 2019 as the league's all-time leader in receptions (1,259) and receiving yards (16,561) while scoring 347 touchdowns.
After Toliver retired, Giddens, Mainland's boys basketball coach, tried to get his former teammate to join his staff.
"I thought T.T. would get into coaching, but I knew it would be when he was ready," Giddens said.
This past summer, Matanzas linebackers coach Phillip Haire ran into Toliver and told him the Pirates were looking for coaches. Toliver was ready.
"It was the right time and the right place," Toliver said. "I was thinking about returning anyway to help somebody just like me when I was growing up."
"When I told Coach Forrest I got this guy who can help us out with receivers -- T.T. Toliver -- his mouth fell to the ground."
PHILLIP HAIRE, Matanzas linebackers coach
Haire, who was a senior at Mainland when Toliver was a freshman, said when Toliver joined the Pirates' staff, few coaches or players knew of his athletic exploits. Head coach Matt Forrest was an exception.
"When I told Coach Forrest I got this guy who can help us out with receivers -- T.T. Toliver -- his mouth fell to the ground," Haire said. "He said he got Arena League tickets in Nashville one year just to watch T.T. play."
Toliver coaches the Pirates' receivers with another former pro football player, Kyle Johnson, who played fullback for the NFL's Denver Broncos from 2002-07.
"I wish I had a coach with the experience we have when I was in high school," Johnson said. "A guy to guide me along, tell me what to do, how to avoid certain pitfalls."
Johnson said he and Toliver complement each other in their coaching styles.
"Sometimes I'm more technical, and T.T. has a visceral feel for the game," Johnson said.
Forrest said the Pirates are lucky to have the pair on staff.
"To have two guys with pro backgrounds, it’s really done wonders for us," Forrest said. "T.T. adapts well to the kids. He really works on getting them better."
Perhaps nobody is better suited than Toliver to talk to players about potential pitfalls. After helping the Bucs win two state basketball titles -- one with and one without future NBA star Vince Carter -- and being named Class 5A Football Player of the Year, Toliver signed with Clemson but failed to meet the NCAA's academic standards.
He was named Junior College Player of the Year in 1997 and 1998 as a quarterback for Hinds Community College and took what he says was bad advice in signing a contract with the Canadian Football League, forfeiting his college football eligibility. He never played in the CFL. He came close to sticking with a few NFL teams before finally finding stability in the Arena League.
"I don't think about those times," Toliver said. "You live them and experience them. I just try to help the next person out, give them advice, tell them to put their best foot forward in everything they do. If I did that with my education as well as I did with sports, I wouldn't have had to rely on sports."