Taylor: Kids must buy in
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 17, 2014
New Andalusia High School head football coach Trent Taylor is anxious for the Christmas break to be over.
Taylor, who has been at the helm of Straughn’s Tigers for 25 years, was named head coach at AHS Tuesday. He begins work in January.
“Obviously, this time of year, it will be after Christmas before I get in there,” he said. “I may be the only teacher or student that will be real excited about seeing school start back in January. I can’t wait to get started.”
The last time he stood on the sideline, he was wearing a uniform. Back then, he was a wingback on Coach Don Sharpe’s undefeated 1977 state championship team.
“It’s an incredible opportunity to be a part of this (Andalusia-Straughn) rivalry as both a player and coach, and now as a coach for the school I played at,” Taylor said.
He reiterated: He just can’t wait to get going.
:It’s going to be very important for the kids at Andalusia to buy in to what we are teaching,” he said. “As coaches, we make this game way more difficult than it really is. We give all these fancy names to formations and techniques, when the fact of the matter is, it is a really simple game. The beauty about football is that it is the greatest team sport that there is. You can have one or two really good players in other sports that make a big difference, but in football one or two guys aren’t going to get it done, it takes a team.
“I think if we can get that message across, and the kids will buy into that then it will allow us to have some great success,” Taylor said. “I’m fully aware of the talent that the Andalusia program has, and I’m very excited to a part of it.”
His first order of business, he said, will be to meet with Mat Johnson, who has been acting head football coach since Brian Seymore resigned in early November.
“Coach Matt Johnson has had them in the weight room, so the first order of business will be to meet with him and see what they have been doing,” Taylor said. “I’ve got some things that I want to instill with the weight program. The biggest thing will be to get in there and let the kids and faculty get to know me.”
As excited as he is about his new opportunity, Taylor said leaving Straughn after 25 years won’t be easy.
“It’s always hard leaving any place, but Straughn has been more than just a job for me, it was a family,” Tyalor said. “A lot of coaches talk about how coaching takes them away from their families a lot, but I guess I kind of, did it the opposite. My kids would come with me to the field house in the mornings, and it always allowed for us spend a lot of time together.”
Taylor said he met with the Straughn players at noon on Tuesday to tell them he was leaving.
“ I really feel like that handled it well, which speaks a lot of about them as men,” he said. “I know they may not all understand it right now, but I told them if any of you ever get into coaching that they would understand what it means to have the chance to go home.
“I hope the people at Straughn understand how much they mean to me, and have meant to me,” he said. “There have been a lot of special teams that I’ve coached at Straughn and I hope that all know how grateful I was to be a part of that program for the past 25 years.”
Ironically, one of his best memories has nothing to do with football.
“The guys might get made at me for this, but the thing I feel most boastful about is a few years ago, taking the girls softball team and winning the regional tournament,” he said. “I know that sounds crazy, but that was just really neat. To take a group that had struggled all year long, and here they got an old football coach coaching them in softball.”
Another fond memory involves state playoffs.
“The year we beat Southern Choctaw in the second round, and that was the first time that we made it to third round, which meant we got to practice on Thanksgiving,” Taylor said. “That was always something I thought would be a lot of fun, was to wake up Thanksgiving morning and practice before eating our Thanksgiving meal.
Another memorable moment was when we played Fayette County, a few years back, that was probably the most intense football atmosphere that I’ve ever coached in,” he said.
Taylor said AHS principal Dr. Daniel Shakespeare has been very supportive.
There was never any pressure on me,” he said. “Every high school in the state has a head coach, and every one of them has a home school, but a lot of them won’t ever get the opportunity to go back to their home school. Most coaches, if they are being truthful, will tell you that they would love to go home, and make a difference at your home school. I’ve been given that opportunity and I’m very excited.”