The longtime Lebanon defensive coordinator assumed the reins of the Blue Devils program last week after the surprise reassignment of David Scammell.
Taylor began his coaching career under Butch Kiser at Castlewood in 1990. He was at the school for nine seasons, also coaching under Mike Roberson. The community remembers him. They respect him. They have welcomed him.
“Because I was here the first time, I’m excited to be back. Some of the guys I’ve coached here have kids or nephews playing here,” he said.
Taylor, who served as coach John Adams’ right-hand man for more than a decade at Lebanon, played for Larry Smith at Honaker back in the 1970s. Both coaches contributed much to his gridiron perspective.
“In one year, Larry had a major impact on me as far as my developing a life-long passion for the game,” Taylor said. “Coach Adams and I saw eye-to-eye on a lot of things.”
Like many longtime assistants who finally make the transition, Taylor has discovered that the administrative decisions a head coach faces are often more numerous than on-the-field decisions.
“It’s something I always tried to prepare for. But you really never can be prepared for it until you jump right in,” Taylor said.
Most Southwest Virginia programs started practice last Thursday. Castlewood’s first day had already been pushed to Monday even before the rapid turn of events that saw Scammell transferred to Belfast Elementary School and Lebanon Middle School as a P.E. teacher and Taylor appointed as his replacement.
Taylor finds himself playing catch-up, but he is convinced that his team will be back on schedule in short order. Practicing on Saturday will enable the Blue Devils get in 20 preseason practice sessions on time.
The new Blue Devils skipper, who can project old-school authority in the flash of an eye, wears a practice field like a second skin. Eventually, he’ll be as comfortable with the full scope of his new duties.
“It can seem overwhelming at first. It’s the things that people can’t see that makes the job difficult,” Taylor said.
“All the paperwork. Finances ... having bills come in from the previous year when you thought you had the money for other things. Stuff like that.
“But that’s all part of the job. I knew that when I took it.”