New girls basketball coach redefines team

Sarah McCarthy, Photographer

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The new girls basketball coach, Willie Taylor, is preparing to start up a new basketball season with a  brand new set of girls. With the new year comes a fresh start and a chance for the girls to improve from the past season. Now that Taylor’s new styles and views have been instilled into the program, there is more promise for the team’s future. Not only this year, but for years to come.

Taylor joined the basketball staff this past year and is about to start up his second season with the Ponies this winter. From this new leadership, the team has had an opportunity to bounce back from a previous losing season. The positive and hardworking input coming from Taylor has inspired the girls to accomplish much more than before. With the new optimism, it is not only going to greatly assist the varsity team, but assist the entire program.

The players have taken quickly to Taylor’s new style, and the players have adjusted to fit what the new coach thinks will be best. Taylor has helped bring the fun atmosphere of basketball back into the Stillwater gym, allowing for a more enjoyable time for players. With this adjustment it has drawn more girls into joining the high school program, which creates promise for the future of Stillwater Girls Basketball.

He runs focused, concentrated practices. You have to be focused otherwise there is no use in coming to practice.”

— Rachel Houle

Junior Camryn Davis explained that coach Taylor, “Has been re-establishing the more fun aspect of the sport, and has also made more girls join. We are also seeing improvements overall.”

Not only is Taylor a good coach, but an exceptional man overall. Bringing a smile into the gym every single time he enters the gym, proves Taylor’s love for the sport, as well as his players. This positive influence has made basketball a significantly more welcoming environment for both players and even parents.

Eric Davis, basketball player parent described Taylor when he said, “Coach Taylor is such a personable, friendly guy.  I’ve really enjoyed getting to know him.  He’s a competitive guy with a passion for the game.  He knows how to win both on the basketball court and off it.  I think he’s a great role model for the players and we are fortunate to have him as our coach.”

Although fun is a large aspect of Taylor’s coaching, he manages to create a balance between fun and work. As much as he has made practices fun for the girls, he also assured that improvement comes as a result. His desire for a hardworking team overall is created during his practices where the girls put in the work necessary for a successful season.

Sophomore Rachel Houle described Taylor’s practices when she said, “He runs focused, concentrated practices. You have to be focused otherwise there is no use in coming to practice.”

Taylor has spent time focusing on involving girls of every age in order to keep girls coming back for tryouts the next year. By putting time into the younger players it strengthens the chemistry of the program overall, as well as steers future teams in the right direction to prepare them for when they reach a varsity level.

Madisen Schmidt, senior team captain explained, “He [Taylor] encourages us to involve everybody. Freshman were at the summer camps, and he always wants us to see everybody at open gyms as well.”

Eric Davis explained, “We were fortunate to get Coach Taylor.  This is a guy who had a 336-83 record coaching girls basketball at Central.  He won two state championships and coached an undefeated Central team that is considered one of the best Minnesota girls basketball teams of all time.  It’s raised our profile – even as the program rebuilds.”