When the Old Dominion President John Broderick and Athletic Director Wood Selig announced that long time Monarchs head coach Blaine Taylor would be relieved from his coaching duties, Tuesday afternoon, they didn’t have to spit on his face and tell him it was raining.
Taylor, who first came to Norfolk, Va. for the 2001-2002 season, leaves Old Dominion as the all-time winningest coach in the school’s history. During his 12-year stint, the coach also did an incredible job building up the men’s basketball program. In the process of turning his club into a perennial contender in the Colonial Athletic Association, Taylor led the Monarchs to seven 20-win seasons, four NCAA Tournament appearances, eight overall postseason appearances and a 237-126 record – if you don’t include this year’s 2-22 nightmare.
Yes, ODU is leaving for a new conference. Yes, they have a large cast of young players and freshman that can easily adapt to a new head coach. And, yes the Monarchs are amidst one of, if not, the worst seasons in program history.
But, abruptly calling a press conference following Taylor’s absence in the weekly CAA coaches teleconference just simply is not fair. He didn’t put in 12 long years of excellent work and effort to be fired for “personal matters” halfway through the season. Winning three CAA Tournament championships and two CAA regular season championships doesn’t deserve to be replaced mid-season when a coaching change was largely expected following the year.
Blaine Taylor is of course not the greatest coach in NCAA Division I history. However, he deserved a moral, ethical and honorable exodus from the Old Dominion Monarchs program.