Ball State Fires Billy Taylor

By John Engel
Michael Hickey-USA TODAY Sports

When Billy Taylor was first hired as Ball State men’s basketball coach in 2007, the program was recovering from crippling NCAA sanctions and accusations of racism by former head coach Ronny Thompson.

Taylor was the perfect fit. Not a single blemish to his record. In his six years as head coach, zero NCAA rules were violated, or caught, and the team’s academics drastically improved.

Of course, if a coach benefits the well-being and academic stability of a basketball program, it is the duty of the university to promptly fire said coach.

Taylor was expected to lead Ball State back to supremacy in the Mid-American Conference.Because of his inability to do so, Taylor was bought out of the final year of his contract. Taylor’s salary in 2012-13 was $215,000.

Following the firing on Thursday, a day in which many programs began off-loading their leadership baggage, Ball State athletic director Bill Scholl emphasized the importance of winning in college basketball, as well as having a studious program.

“Billy did so many things right while he was here. He built the team that’s performing in the classroom, that’s performing in the community,” said Scholl in a statement. “But in our world, winning and losing and competing for titles is a big piece of what we expect, and particularly where it relates to this basketball program, I just don’t see any reason we can’t be certainly a consistent contender for MAC championships.”

In the six-year span, Taylor had a record of 84-99 culminating with a 15-15 record this season. Ball State’s season ended with a 76-61 loss to Buffalo on Wednesday.

Ball State has been a revolving door of leadership personnel throughout the last few years, and next season, the team could see a major overhaul.

John Engel is a college basketball writer for Rant Sports, covering the Pac-12 and Mountain West conferences. John works for ESPNLA 710 AM radio in addition to Rant Sports. Follow: @engelsportsguy.

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