Billy did die at the end of the 13 February 2023 episode of All American when he went back to the bus crash to try and save Jabari.
Every football drama show needs a head coach, and Taye Diggs embodies the perfect father-like head coach as Billy Baker in All American.
However, as popular and important as Billy’s character has been on the show so far, Taye Diggs and showrunner Nkechi Okoro Carroll decided that it was time for Billy to die in the 13 February 2023 episode.
Why Billy Baker is everyone’s favourite coach
There is only one thing better than watching a high school football team in Beverly Hills face their own personal issues and work together to win the championship, and that is watching their stern but lovable coach teach them some hard lessons about life.
Coach Billy Baker is the perfect embodiment of this trope on All American. Even though he is still struggling to deal with his own past, he manages to put most of his own issues aside in order to be a better man, husband, coach, and friend to the people in his life.
Did Billy die on All American?
Playing the lead character in a football drama where you have to balance being a strong leader, fighting for your family, and being a pseudo-father to pretty much the entire team is no easy task.
But Taye Diggs, who portrays Coach Billy Baker on All American, has handled the role masterfully.
During the five seasons that All American has been on the air, Taye Diggs has managed to become a fan-favourite character, and really, the backbone of the entire series.
This is why the conclusion of the 13 February 2023 episode, titled “Time” came as such a shock to so many fans of the series.
During this episode, Billy and the rest of the team, including Asher and Jabari, attend a college coach showcase.
On their way back from the showcase, the team’s bus loses a tyre and is involved in a bad crash. While most of the team and Billy make it out of the crash relatively unharmed, Billy realises that Jabari is still missing and rushes back to the bus to try and save him.
Fans were left wondering what would happen to Billy and Jabari as the dramatic music continued to build.
Unfortunately, the episode ends, and Grace and Jordan tell the rest of their family that Billy did not make it out alive. Spencer found out that Billy died when a sobbing Olivia collapsed in his arms.
The show’s creators and Taye Diggs both seem to agree that it was the right choice to kill off such a pivotal character mid-way through the season.
However, there is no doubt that the Beverly Hills and South Crenshaw teams have never felt a loss as great as losing Billy.
Was Billy’s death planned?
The showrunner for All American, Nkechi Okoro Carroll, has confirmed that she meets with all of the actors at the beginning and end of every season to talk about the direction that they would like to take with the show.
As it happens, when she was in this discussion with Taye Diggs, they both decided that Billy’s journey on the show was over.
Thus, they went into the fifth season of All American knowing that Billy would need to be written out of the show somehow.
Why did they decide to kill off Billy?
It may seem dramatic for the show to kill Billy off completely instead of just having him move on to a different job or town to write the character out of the show that way.
However, Taye Diggs has explained that after Billy had worked so hard to keep his family together up to this point in the show, it would not make sense for him to just disappear out of their lives completely moving forward if he was not dead.
How will the show move forward without its main character?
Taye Diggs and the All American creators may have felt that his character arc on the show was complete, but this does not change the fact that he was the main character of the show.
As such, his absence will certainly leave a big void in the narrative moving forward.
Fortunately, since Taye Diggs’ exit from the show was planned, the series already has an idea for how they will fill this gap moving forward.
Nkechi Okoro Carroll has confirmed that the next few episodes in the show will focus on how individual characters process and deal with Billy’s death following his funeral, which will take place in the 20 February 2023 episode.