Taylor recognized for 25 years at Straughn

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 30, 2014

0930 spt-taylor recognition

Straughn head football coach Trent Taylor (second from left) is recognized for his 25 years of coaching the Tigers. He is shown here with Covington County Board of Education member John “Sonny” Thomasson; his daughters, Paige and Tiffany; and wife, Patty. | Photo courtesy of Zack Maio

By Zack Maio

Trent Taylor knows his football.

After all, he has spent the last 25 years leading Straughn’s program and making history many times along the way.

Prior to Straughn’s game against Beauregard last week, Covington County Schools board member John “Sonny” Thomasson presented Taylor with a plaque for his long service to the school as a coach.

“It ain’t about me,” Taylor said about receiving the honor. “It’s all about the folks along the way.”

County schools Superintendent Shannon Driver, board president Jeff Bailey and SHS Principal John Evers were on hand. Also sharing in the moment with Taylor were his two daughters, Paige and Tiffany, and his wife, Patty.

Taylor graduated from Andalusia High School and was a member of the school’s 1977 state championship team.

After graduation, he went on to attend college at the University of Mobile.

Taylor first got involved in coaching at Baldwin County High School in 1987, where he spent one year. Then, he headed to Kinston High School and took on the head coach position.

Ironically, Taylor’s first ever game as head coach was at KHS against none other than SHS. He picked up his first career victory the following week in a 12-8 decision over Wicksburg.

Taylor went on to help lead the Bulldogs to an 8-14 record in two seasons and made his first two playoff appearances.

In the fall of 1990, he made his way to SHS and took over for Tommy Wright.

Taylor’s first SHS win came at KHS in a 27-14 contest and later that year, the Tigers lost a five-overtime heartbreaker to Houston County in the first round.

Starting in 1998, the Tigers went on to venture to nine straight trips to the playoffs.

In 2000, the Tigers won another region crown and led SHS to the third round of the Class 2A state playoffs. SHS beat Cottonwood for the school’s first ever playoff win and followed that with an upset of defending state champion Southern Choctaw.

After jumping to 3A in 2002, the Tigers upset top-ranked T.R. Miller at home.

In 2009, the school won its fourth region title, and went to the third round. The following year, SHS joined the 4A ranks for the first time.

Taylor helped pull another big upset at home when he defeated UMS-Wright to record the school’s second 10-win season. That ended a streak of 16 consecutive first-round wins for the Bulldogs. The season finished at 10-2.

Straughn reached the semi-finals in 2012 and 2013 for the first time in school history. For his efforts, Taylor was named the Covington County Coach of the Year both seasons. The Alabama Sports Writers Association named him the Class 3A Coach of the Year in 2012.

In 27 years of service, Taylor has compiled a 177-120 overall record and 87-46 region record. His record at SHS is 169-106 entering this Friday’s game against Montgomery Catholic. With 18 winning seasons, he is the only coach in school history to take SHS to the playoffs, where his teams have made 19 appearances and gone 14-19.

New concrete bleachers, as well as construction of the R.C. Poole Field House, weight rooms and a visitors’ locker room have all been added during Taylor’s tenure.

“We’ve been very, very fortunate there,” Taylor said. “We’ve had a lot of people who have wanted things to be better from a stand point of facilities and all. That certainly has helped us.”

Taylor said the pre-game festivity to honor him was “very nice.”

”I’m certainly appreciative,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ll make 25 more, at least not standing. I’m honored to say the least.”