It has been said that the only thing truly consistent in life is change and Monarch Nation certainly found that out the hard way Tuesday with the news that longtime men’s basketball coach Blaine Taylor was dismissed. A night after a tough 85-74 loss to rival George Mason University, athletic director Wood Selig and university president John Broderick made the decision to move in another direction. “As the athletic director at Old Dominion University, my primary responsibility is to our student athletes, and our intercollegiate athletic programs,” Selig said. “After a comprehensive review of the men’s basketball program, and with the support of President John Broderick, I am relieving Blaine Taylor of his duties as Old Dominion University’s head men’s basketball coach, effective immediately.”
This season has truly been a tumultuous one for all involved, as the team now stands with a dismal record of 2-20, with wins over Morgan St. and the University of Virginia. Selig also named associate head coach Jim Corrigan as Taylor’s replacement for the remaining eight games of the season, beginning Thursday night on the road against Drexel. However, Taylor leaves behind a legacy at Old Dominion and a firm imprint on the university during his 12-year tenure. He gradually built ODU into a winning program and compiled a 239-144 career record at ODU. This includes four trips to the NCAA tournament over the past eight seasons including an upset win over favorite and sixth seeded Notre Dame in the 2010 tournament in New Orleans. In seven of the past eight seasons, ODU has won 22 or more games. Taylor is one of only two other coaches to win back-to-back CAA titles, an impressive accomplishment. He also helped mentor players such as Gerald Lee and Kent Bazemore, who have gone on to play basketball professionally.
Known for his trademark mustache and fiery attitude towards the game of basketball and his players, Taylor will surely be missed in basketball circles. His methods of teaching players and making them better people were not lost on athletic director Selig. “Blaine’s student athletes have always shown great character and tremendous heart,” he said. “They have gone on to become productive citizens in their communities following their graduation from the university. In those regards, Blaine has led a model program.” As for long term prospects as head coach, the University would give no details at this time as to when a replacement would be chosen.
It will take some time but with the right rebuilding techniques and coaching and patience, expect the Monarchs to bounce back positively in the near future. Look for the team to continue to play hard and put forth maximum effort under interim head coach Jim Corrigan.
By: Jordan Jones