Jason TaylorHead Coach
Office Phone: (864) 231-2022
After guiding his team to its’ second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Southeast Championship contest, Anderson University head men’s basketball coach Jason 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 last 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, 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.
Taylor begins his seventh season at the helm of the Trojans’ men’s basketball program in 2012 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 last December, surpassing former head coach Doug Novak’s 80-win tally. Taylor has averaged 17 wins per season since taking the reins for the 2006-07 campaign and led AU to its’ first-ever appearance in the Elite Eight in 2011, and its’ second consecutive 20-win season after finishing 21-12 in 2010-11.
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 last March.
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 have a 100% graduation rate for players who have exhausted their eligibility under Coach Taylor and the team continually participates 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 five 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 started 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 and is now the head coach at Maryland.
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.