Jason TaylorHead Coach
Office Phone: (864) 231-2851
Jason Taylor is in his ninth season at the helm of the Trojans’ men’s basketball program in 2014-15 after being named head coach at Anderson on May 31, 2006. He became Anderson’s all-time winningest men’s basketball coach with the Trojans’ 96-78 home win past Mars Hill on Dec. 3, 2011, surpassing former head coach Doug Novak’s 80-win tally. Taylor has averaged nearly 18 wins per season, including more than 22 wins a season over the past five years, since taking the reins for the 2006-07 campaign. Taylor led AU to its’ first-ever appearance in the Elite Eight in 2011, and has guided the Trojans to four 20-win seasons over the five-year span.
Under Taylor’s leadership, Anderson made its fourth appearance in five seasons in the NCAA Southeast Region Tournament last season following a runner-up finish in the 2014 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Tournament. Anderson won four of its last six outings last season heading into the NCAA Tournament, and owns a 6-4 record in four appearances in the NCAA Division II Tournament, including an Elite Eight appearance (2011) and a Sweet 16 appearance in 2012. Only a last-second shot in the 2014 quarterfinals prevented AU from earning a berth in the NCAA Tournament’s Round of 32 for its fourth consecutive appearance in the tourney. The Trojans are earning respect on the national scene on a consistent basis, receiving votes in the 2013-14 NABC Division II Coaches’ Preseason Poll, released in early November and crept closer to a Top-25 ranking in the first regular-season poll, released in mid-November, while finishing the 2013-14 campaign with a 22-10 record.
After being picked to finish fifth in the South Atlantic Conference two seasons ago, Taylor guided the Trojans to the second spot in the league standings, one game behind LMU in a close race for the regular-season championship. During the season, AU knocked off then 11th-ranked Montevallo and edged 12th-ranked Lincoln Memorial in a regionally-televised contest en route to making an appearance in the conference tournament semifinals and posting a 19-9 overall record.
After guiding his team to its’ second consecutive appearance in the 2012 NCAA Southeast Championship contest, Taylor was named the 2012 Southeast Region Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).
Taylor, a native of Clarkrange, Tenn., guided the Trojans to a school-record 26 wins during the 2011-12 season and was also named the South Atlantic Conference Coach of the Year after leading Anderson to the league’s regular-season crown with a stellar 17-1 record three seasons ago, as AU became just the second current member since Carson-Newman in 2001-02 to go through the league slate with just one loss. Anderson posted the most regular-season league wins in SAC history and notched the highest league winning percentage (.944) in conference history.
In 2011, AU capped off its’ second consecutive stellar season by becoming the first team from the state of South Carolina since Lander in 1999 to claim a regional championship and just the second South Atlantic Conference school to earn a trip to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight.
The Trojans made their second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament and nearly reached the Final Four after defeating 10th-ranked Lincoln Memorial and third-ranked Augusta State en route to the school’s first-ever Southeast Regional title in March, 2011. With a final record of 21-12, Anderson recorded the third-highest win total in school history. The Trojans were also the first squad in school history to combine three consecutive winning seasons along with four straight years of finishing .500 or better in the league’s regular-season schedule.
Taylor guided AU to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history in 2010, leading the Trojans to a then school-record 24 wins. Taylor was the youngest coach to guide a men’s basketball team to the NCAA Tournament in either Division I or D-II in 2010. He originally joined the Anderson coaching staff in May, 2003 as an assistant coach and head junior varsity coach, spending three seasons with head coach Doug Novak, Anderson’s former all-time winningest coach as a member of NCAA Division II.
The Trojans’ win total has shown marked improvement each season under Taylor’s direction, as he led AU to their first winning season in seven years in 2008-09. Anderson notched 15 victories, and either equaled or set 11 school records en route to earning a conference tournament semifinal berth for the first time since 2002. Under Coach Taylor’s guidance, guard Bandon Young earned first-team all-conference honors and forward Stephen Cobb was named to the conference all-tournament team.
In 2007-08, the second-year coach led a roster that had more freshmen than upperclassmen to a competitive 12-16 overall record and a 10-10 ledger in Conference Carolinas play. The league finish was Anderson's first .500 or better record in Conference Carolinas play in six years.
By the end of Taylor’s first season at the helm of the program, the Trojans were playing the toughest teams in the league down to the final possession, battling the likes of Barton College, the eventual Division II national champions, to double overtime, while playing top teams in the league down to the wire in the final weeks of the regular season.
In addition to the on-court improvements of the team, the Trojans continually participate in various community service projects throughout the year, including mentoring at local elementary schools, helping with local park improvements and offering free basketball clinics for area youth.
The program’s summer camps have also grown over the last eight years. Taylor started the school’s first ever Middle School Team Camp which doubled in size in the first two years. The Trojans have also offered during the summers day camps and specialty skills camps. Among other things, the specialty camps have included a shooting camp and a guard skills camp. Taylor’s camps have provided an affordable and enjoyable way for the local youth to learn the fundamental skills of basketball.
Taylor began his playing career at Aquinas College in Nashville, Tennessee. From Aquinas, Taylor transferred to Roane State where he redshirted in 1997-98 before playing the following season for the Raiders, averaging 17 points per game as a redshirt sophomore. He was named the MVP of the Pensacola Junior College Thanksgiving Classic, and was also named to the TJCAA All-Eastern Division team, leading the TJCAA in 3-point shooting.
Taylor signed to play at Jacksonville State in Alabama following the 1999 season at Roane State. During his junior campaign with the Gamecocks, Taylor was a member of JSU’s first winning season since moving to Division I. The Gamecocks finished 17-11 which was good for a third-place finish in what was then the Trans American Athletic Conference (TAAC) and is now the Atlantic Sun Conference.
During his playing career, Taylor played for some of the best coaches in the profession. He played for TJCAA Hall of Fame coach Charlie Anderson. He also played for Randy Nesbit, former Southern Conference Coach of the Year at The Citadel. Taylor played one season under Mark Turgeon at JSU. Turgeon was the head coach at Wichita State during their Sweet 16 run in the NCAA tournament in 2005-06.
Taylor earned an associate of science degree from Roane State in 1999 and a B.S. degree in health and physical education from Jacksonville State University in 2001 and two years before arriving at Anderson, Taylor was the assistant basketball coach, adjunct professor of physical education and fitness center supervisor at Roane State.
Ryan HilburnAssistant Coach
Office Phone: (864) 231-2022
Ryan Hilburn is entering his fifth season as an assistant coach with the Trojans after joining the staff for the 2010-11 season. In the last four seasons he has been a part of the Trojans’ Elite Eight run and the Trojans’ 2011-12 South Atlantic Conference Regular Season Championship, which also saw the team reach the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.
An integral part of the coaching staff, Hilburn has helped guide Anderson to an 88-37 (.704) overall record since his arrival and the Trojans have made appearances in the NCAA Southeast Regional in three of the last four seasons. The native of Charleston, S.C., directs the Trojans’ recruiting efforts, as well as assisting with practice and game plans, playing a pivotal role in AU’s success on the hardwood. He is in charge of the development of the post players, scouting opponents, and putting together scouting reports.
Hilburn served as an assistant coach at Lander University during the 2009-10 season under Head Coach Jeff Burkhamer. In 2008-09 he was a graduate assistant at Armstrong Atlantic State University under Burkhamer, when the team went 23-7 and finished the season ranked in the NABC’s Top-25. Hilburn also served on the staff of Head Coach Barclay Radebaugh at Charleston Southern and for hall of fame basketball coach Dave Odom as an undergraduate at the University of South Carolina. During his tenure at USC, the Gamecocks made appearances in the SEC Championship game, the NCAA Tournament, and won back-to-back NIT Tournament Championships.
Hilburn earned his bachelor’s degree in Sport Management from the University of South Carolina in 2006 and graduated from Northwood Academy in 2000. While at Northwood Academy, he helped lead the Chargers to the SCISA AA State Basketball Championship in 2000. He and his wife, Katie, reside in Anderson with their two dogs, Sparky and Riley.
Jerome ConeyStudent Assistant/Video Coordinator