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
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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


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


"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 "


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:

Twitter: KevinThomasPPH


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