Sean Tarver and Mariana Joyner-Vila
First-Year Men’s Basketball Coach Jaron Taylor has been honored as the 2014 Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference Coach of the Year (MDJUCO).
During the 2012-13 season, the Lions had a record of 9-17 and lost in the first round of the MDJUCO, failing to make the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAAA) Region XX tournament, Division II. When Taylor came in as head coach, he wanted to rebuild and find success in the program while educating his players. Coach Taylor is big on academics and stresses every player to hit the books hard so they can attend a four-year university.
He helped lead the CCBC Dundalk Lions to a 20-8 overall record, more than doubling the win total from last season and also helped them gain national ranking in the NJCAA several times this season, peaking at 8th place.
In the MDJUCO tournament, the Lions reached the quarterfinals and in the Region XX tournament they fell one game shy of the championship game.
Taylor began this season with almost a brand new roster. Out of his 14-person roster, Taylor had 13 new players for this season, with one returning from last season. He had to deal with building chemistry very quickly with the players being unfamiliar with each other. The team featured five new starters, which had four sophomores and one freshman in the line-up. To help him with this task was his four assistant coaches: Rodney Harrison, Donte’ Johnson, Darryl Perry, and Gus Durr Jr., who contributed throughout the season with the progress of the team.
Taylor played basketball for CCBC Catonsville and then went on to get a full scholarship to Wright University in Dayton, Ohio, where he played for another two years. He’s also a former assistant coach of his alumni CCBC Catonsville where he coached for several years under Coach Randy Gregory.
Asked why he became a coach, Taylor stated, “I wanted to get into coaching because I felt I could give back to a special age of young men developing to become men. I was inspired by my former Coach Gregory whom I played for and coached under.’’
“The players inspire me because each season you will have a new team and a new challenge and I get the opportunity to watch them mature,” he added.
The Lions improved this season and was tied for first place in the MDJUCO, which includes 15 other Maryland community colleges, with athletic programs.
Taylor is big on his players working together as a team. “I would say my style is a player-first mentality as long as it doesn’t jeopardize the goals of the team.”
When asked how it feels to win the Coach of the Year award in his first season as head coach, he replied, “It’s a great honor, I believe it’s a team award though. The players had to put in the work so that it was obtainable. The assistant coaches had to play their part and help to guide the players, while also giving me ideas to help the team continue to improve.’’
Taylor is not the only winner of The Coach of the Year Award. Dundalk Women’s Basketball Coach Robert Long won the award for two years, including the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 seasons, leading his team in 2012-2013 to a 19-9 record. He also led the women’s team to the Region XX championship game, but the team fell short. The women’s team this season had an 18-11 record, losing in the semifinals of the Region XX tournament, Division II.
When asked about Coach Taylor’s achievement, Long said, “I believe it is not going to be the last time he will be receiving the award.’’
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