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Familiarity breeds success? Taylor named new BHS grid skipper


Bearden High School brass are hoping familiarity, coupled with experience, will breed much success for a Bearden football program beset by recent tragedy.

That tragedy is one reason new head coach Brad Taylor, a five-year Bulldog assistant and former BHS standout player, isn’t turning cartwheels.

“It’s definitely always been a goal to be a head coach, but this is a bitter-sweet situation. I would just as soon not been in this situation, we would have loved to had coach [Bill] Wilson with us for as long as he wanted to be a part of Bearden football,” Taylor said about the local coaching legend he’s replacing following Wilson’s sudden death last spring.

Nevertheless, Taylor said it was “very exciting” to become a head coach, especially at his alma mater. “Anxious would be a good word, the first time doing everything. Just anxious for the season to get started and see how things go.”

Taylor, 31, is a former BHS standout player in the early 1990s (Class of ’94), who has been offensive coordinator at BHS all but one season (2005) since 2001.

“He’s done an excellent job coaching with Bill last year, and then being the interim coach after Bill’s death,” BHS athletic director Lynn Hill said after hiring Taylor last week. “They had a great spring, and he’s shown me his leadership abilities and his knowledge of the game. So I felt comfortable hiring him.”

Hill’s decision was made official Tuesday, May 29, then Taylor was presented to the players as permanent head coach Thursday, May 31.

A three-year starting tight-end at Tennessee Tech before becoming a graduate assistant there in 1999 and 2000, Taylor was hired after an interview process lasting more than a week.

Despite other “good” candidates, “I wanted the transition to be as smooth as it could be for these boys, we’ve got a great group coming up … about twenty-five seniors coming along,” Hill said. “If you had somebody come in here making too many changes, it might not work well.

“Spring practice showed me a lot about the coach and his leadership ability — but also the entire workouts that we’ve had, even prior to Bill’s death,” Hill added of Taylor’s former duties as “one of the main ones with the weight program and agility program.”

About having a head coach familiar with a system the players are used to, “That’s important, especially with this team at this time,” Taylor said. “It’s a very heavy senior class team. You want to continue to build on what we’ve already started.”

Taylor and wife, Kinsey, are the parents of Tyson, 2.

SPRING REVIEW

With a spring practice absentmajor injuries, “The experience of our team in spring allowed us to go quicker than maybe normal with our [play and scheme] installation, so I think we’re a little further along than we’ve been in the past,” Taylor said.

Defensively, Taylor said his men up front comprise “a very good defensive line, they’re strong kids, they’ve got good speed.”

With an offense returning “almost everybody” from 2006, “I thought we did well from our runningbacks and quarterbacks,” Taylor said. “Receivers, they’re an old bunch of kids so they’ve got the experience.”

“Big play potential” at wide receiver and spots in the secondary are areas of concern noted by Taylor.

On the 2007 BHS schedule, a trip to Carter in week 0 has replaced Cumberland County as the opener. The Bulldogs travel to Halls in week 5, replacing Central on the slate.

Rivals Farragut and West plus Bearden’s Region 1-5A yearly opponents comprise the rest of the schedule.

 

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