November 11, 2012

Red Claws' Taylor made to coach basketball

That's all he wrote as a boy when asked by a teacher which career he planned to pursue.

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

20121107_ClawsCoach
click image to enlarge

Mike Taylor, after stints in college ball, Europe and the Rio Grande Valley, is coaching the Red Claws.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

RED CLAWS CALENDAR

FRIDAY: Kids and Claws Welcome Back Dinner, 5:30 p.m., Portland Expo

SATURDAY: Benefit scrimmage, 6 p.m., Edward Little High School, Auburn

NOV. 23: Season opener in Canton, Ohio, 7:30 p.m.

NOV. 30: Home opener, vs. Los Angeles D-Fenders, 7 p.m. at Portland Expo

And

"He was not a great player."

Taylor walked into the IUP gym and was named a captain his sophomore year. And even though he was not a starter, Taylor would captain IUP for three seasons.

"That's very unusual," Kanaskie said.

"He was a tremendous leader and I can't say enough about his character. He didn't play a lot, but he was so respected by his teammates."

After graduating in 1995, Taylor took a graduate assistant job at Clarion, where his father no longer coached, but was still on the faculty.

Then came assistant jobs at IUP (1997-2000) and Pittsburg (Kansas) State University (2000-01).

Taylor never rested.

"I would work as many camps as I could over the summer," he said, "with every good coach you could think of. All over the country. Trying to build a network "

A 'STOP' IN EUROPE

Taylor longed to be a head coach and, with the connections he was continually making, he was offered the head coaching job of a third-division team in the German pro league, in Chemnitz.

"Initially it was a short-term idea," Taylor said.

"I would come back (soon) and coach at a college. But it kept getting better and better and better."

From Chemnitz, Taylor moved to England to coach in Essex for a season.

Then it was back to Germany, to coach in Ulm, a program he directed from a second-division team to a first-division contender. He stayed there eight seasons.

Initially, summers were spent in the U.S., working with U.S. Basketball League teams. Then he got a summer gig working with the Czech Republic National Team for the past three years.

Taylor finally left Ulm last year to take an assistant coaching job in the D-League, with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

That led to the Celtics hiring him for the Red Claws job.

When Taylor first came to Portland, he experienced a flashback to Ulm.

"We had a smaller gym, similar to the Expo," Taylor said. "We would pack it, with around 3,000.

"An old-style gym, a packed fan base. This is a very comfortable feeling for me."

Mike Taylor, basketball coach, is ready to settle in for the season.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at:

kthomas@pressherald.com

Twitter: KevinThomasPPH

 

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