Billy Taylor Named Ball State Men's Basketball Coach

Courtesy: Ball State Athletics
Release: August 07, 2007
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MUNCIE, Ind. -- Billy Taylor, who completed his fifth season as head coach at Lehigh University, has been named the 18th head men’s basketball coach in Ball State University history, according to BSU athletics director Tom Collins. 

“It was clear that Billy Taylor wanted to be the head coach at Ball State University,” Collins said. “Billy has head coaching experience, Midwest roots and played at Notre Dame.  He learned from the best in John MacLeod and Fran McCaffrey and was highly successful in a great league.  Perhaps even more important, he cares about the student-athletes and is a proven winner.” 

Taylor, a two-time Patriot League Coach of the Year, will be formally introduced as the Cardinals’ head coach at an 11 a.m. press conference Wednesday in the Alumni Lounge at Worthen Arena in Muncie. 

The press conference will be carried live exclusively on The Official Web Site of Ball State Athletics at  

A 1995 graduate of Notre Dame and the Irish men’s basketball team captain as a senior, Taylor owns an overall career coaching record of 81-69 in five seasons at Lehigh.       

In his first season as a head coach in 2002-03, Taylor guided the Mountain Hawks to the second-largest turnaround in America, improving on the previous year’s record by 11 wins.  He was named the Patriot League Coach of the Year after finishing with a 16-12 record.

In 2003-04, Taylor led Lehigh to its first-ever Patriot League regular season and tournament championships, as well as a trip to the NCAA Tournament. For his efforts, Taylor earned the league’s Coach of the Year honor for the second time in as many seasons, becoming the first coach since Gonzaga’s Mark Few, to win conference Coach of the Year honors in each of his first two seasons as a head coach.

In 2005-06, Lehigh posted the third most wins in school history with its 19-12 overall mark and a school-record 11 Patriot League wins

Prior to Lehigh, Taylor was the top assistant for three years at North Carolina-Greensboro under McCaffrey from 1999-2002, helping the team to an improvement of eight wins in his first season.  UNC-Greensboro won the Southern Conference Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament with a 19-11 record in 2000-01, before posting a 20-10 mark and an NIT appearance in 2001-02.       

While at Notre Dame in 1998-99, Taylor served as an assistant coach under MacLeod where he coordinated opponent scouting reports, game preparations and preseason and postseason skill development sessions. He also coached Troy Murphy, who won both the Big East Rookie and Player of the Year awards while at Notre Dame, and is currently a member of the Indiana Pacers.        

Taylor, recruited to Notre Dame by Digger Phelps, was a four-year letterwinner for the Irish and started 79 of 112 games in his career.  He scored 577 points and grabbed 300 rebounds in his career, before graduating with a degree in business administration and computer applications in 1995.  He also earned his CPA in 1998.

Taylor and his wife, Avlon, have a daughter, Gavielle and a son, Savion.

Coach Billy Taylor's Press Conference Comments


It’s very exciting for me as a new coach and leader of this Ball State program to come out and see such a warm reception, and I’m very thankful for that. I’d like to first thank Dr. Gora and Tom Collins for their time, effort and support in this appointment to lead this Ball State basketball program.


I’m excited to be here and to be the new leader of this basketball program. There’s tremendous talent in this program. I got an opportunity to meet Peyton Stovall just a few minutes ago, and I look forward to working with Peyton and the rest of the student-athletes in this program in building what should be a very competitive and exciting basketball team for you all to watch and support.


I’m looking forward to meeting and working with everyone here in the Ball State University community. I can’t wait to get connected and engaged with our alumni. I know we have a very active bunch, and I look forward to meeting you all and getting a chance to talk with you and interact. I look forward to engaging my family and welcoming them into this Ball State community. We’re excited to be here. We’re energized. And we look at this as a great opportunity for our family.


On what attracted him to the job

This is a tremendous opportunity here at Ball State. There’s great history in the coaching ranks from coach Majerus to Steve Yoder, Ray McCallum, so on and so forth, who have done tremendous things here as leaders of this program. And there’s tremendous talent within this program. I’ve gotten a chance to study the roster and the personnel, and I look forward to getting the chance to review the tapes and see what we can do as a group in terms of going forward.


On the challenges that come with taking the job

We have a lot of work to do. We have to go back and look at the films, see what our strengths and weaknesses were from last year, what we need to improve upon, figure out what our team identity is going to be, how we’re going to defend, how we’re going to play in transition, how we’re going to share the basketball. All those things we need to figure out in a short amount of time.


On the importance of recruiting the state of Indiana

There is so much talent here in the state of Indiana. Having gone to school at Notre Dame, I had a number of teammates that played high school basketball in the state of Indiana. Indiana is a talent-rich state for basketball. I’m excited to be here and have the opportunity to recruit in-state here and attract that local talent that can put our program in a position to be successful in the future. Having said that, we also need to be able to recruit other key areas within the MAC footprint. But I think we have a great opportunity, certainly a great arena, great resources, a lot of commitment here, that we should be able to attract top-level student-athletes from the state of Indiana.


On retaining current players

I think we’re going to do some great things here, and I would hope the young men who have committed to this program would remain committed to this program. Through my leadership, they can believe that I’m going to provide a first-class experience for them. My goal is first and foremost to keep this team together and to try to work together going forward so that we can have a great year.


On his coaching style

As a coach, my style is more that of a teaching and instructive methodology. I think it comes from my mother being a school teacher. I’m not one that believes in storming up and down the sidelines, yelling and screaming at officials. My job is to prepare our team, coach our team and communicate with our players. If our players get a sense of calm and control from me, whether it’s at the start of the game or the last two minutes or the last 10 seconds, if they can always remain calm and under control, as I will be, then I think we’ll be in a position to be successful.


On the playing style he prefers

We commit very heavily on the defensive end of the floor. My teams at Lehigh were very successful, nationally-ranked in terms of field goal percentage defense and points allowed defense. Offensively, we want to push the ball down the floor. We want to be aggressive with the basketball in transition. But we really want to make sure we lock down on defense, understanding that in order to win MAC Championships and to win games late in March, you have to be able to play good, solid half court defense.


On building relationships with alumni

I think it’s important for myself and my family to be open and engaged with the Muncie community and the University community, and we’re excited to do so. I’m looking forward to getting a chance to meet and work with everyone here. Specifically with the alumni, I think it’s important to just get connected with people and let them know that I care and I care about their interest in the University. And I want them to be proud of the product we put on the floor.

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