Taylor’s former AHS teammates, coach thrilled

Published 1:46 am Wednesday, December 17, 2014


In high school, Trent Taylor was an Andalusia High School Bulldog.

Come January, he’ll be a Bulldog again, and his former coach and teammates couldn’t be more proud.

The Andalusia Board of Education on Tuesday named Taylor head coach and assistant athletic director at Andalusia High School.

“I’m just glad it was the right time for Andalusia High School and the right time for Trent,” former AHS head coach Don Sharpe said. “Everything seems to have fallen where it needed to for both Andalusia and Trent.

“We’re all pumped,” teammate John Jones said. “We scored a touchdown with this hire.”

Sharpe said he has followed Taylor, both as a player and a coach.

“Trent has always had great character, the work ethic that any successful coach must have, and he has sort of stuck to some of the principles he played with.”

Talk to his teammates about those principles, and they describe hard work and dedication.

“He was a hard player,” Roy Ben Dorsey recalled of “old No. 24.”

“He was serious in practice. When he was on the scout team, whatever play he had to learn, he did it to perfection. He didn’t half step, and he was the same way in the game.”

Sharpe said Taylor played wingback in the late 1970s. He was member of the 1976 team that tied for the state championship, and the 1977 team that claimed the title. Both teams were undefeated.

“In our offense, he was a blocker, primarily,” Sharpe explained. “A half-back type in today’s terminology. On every play, he was either taking a fake, running the ball or blocking.”

Lex Short, who played quarterback, said Taylor was an overachiever, even then.

“He was a good athlete, but like some of the rest of us, we wasn’t blessed with the greatest speed. He’d give you everything he had, and he seems to have a knack as a coach for getting that from his players.”

Taylor’s teammates said they never considered one of their own would one day take the helm at their alma mater.

“I don’t think I was mature enough to think that far downfield,” Short said. “I couldn’t see past Friday night. I never really thought about it then, but in retrospect, if I picked one, it would have been Trent.”

Even though his teammates might not have been aware of it, John Jones said he believes Taylor knew early-on what he wanted to do. After high school, Jones recalled, Taylor stopped by his parents’ house one weekend when both were home from college.

“He came to my house and got a book Coach Sharpe had put together regarding the triple option,” Jones said. “I was bumping along, and wasn’t quite sure what I wanted. He knew what he wanted, and that was to coach.”

Taylor’s teammates have watched him at Straughn, and they are excited about Andalusia’s prospects with him the helm.

“It’s a fantastic hire,” Jones said. “I think Trent is the perfect fit for Andalusia right now.”

And some of them had begun to wonder if Taylor would ever come home.

“He’d been at Straughn for so long,” Dorsey said. “I thought we might have tried to get him in the past, and I didn’t think he would come. Time changes things. I think he’s going to do a great job.”

Short admits he might be a bit selfish in being happy that Taylor is back.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do,” Short said. “Twenty-five years is a long time for a coach to stay anywhere, and it’s an extraordinary thing for him to have been (at Straughn) that long.

“The thing is, Brian Seymore is as good a human being as you could find,” Short said. The sentiment was echoed by Jones and Cope, too.

“Trent is the same kind of guy,” Short said. “He’s not anybody you have to worry will embarrass you. They’re both good, Christian men. Moral men. I appreciate that in both of those guys.”

Cope said he is excited that Taylor will be in place for the spring.

“I think bringing the new coach on starting in January is huge, so he can guide the players through winter workouts and spring training,” Cope said. “This also gives him time to evaluate the current staff and learn their strengths.”

Taylor’s teammates are already dreaming about another championship team at Andalusia High School. But Sharpe cautioned local fans that Taylor will have work ahead of him in building a program at Andalusia.

“We should never expect things to happen all of a sudden,” Taylor said. “If anybody can get it done, Trent can.”

But he also cautioned that Taylor will need community support.

“It’s gonna take a lot of dedication from everybody to make things happen,” he said. “I really believe that Trent will make a difference. I think he’ll make a difference in the classroom, in the halls, in the street and on the field.”