Iowa assistant coach Billy Taylor taking over as head coach at Elon

After a second successful stint at the University of Iowa, assistant men’s basketball coach Billy Taylor is back to the head coaching ranks. Elon athletic director Dave Blank named Taylor the school’s 19th head men’s basketball coach.

“I am humbled and honored to accept the head coaching position at Elon University. I want to thank President Connie Ledoux Book and Director of Athletics Dave Blank for offering me the opportunity to serve the student-athletes in our basketball program. As a program, we will pursue excellence on the basketball court, in the classroom and in the community. Our family is excited to begin this new journey, and we look forward to joining the Elon community,” Taylor said.

It’s Taylor’s third opportunity to be a Division I head men’s basketball coach. At Lehigh from 2002-07, Taylor compiled an 81-69 record and made one NCAA Tournament appearance in 2004. Then, at Ball State from 2007-13, Taylor registered an 84-99 record. He also coached at Division II Belmont Abbey for three seasons, tallying a 49-42 record. For his career as a head coach, Taylor is 214-210.

Obviously, Taylor’s hiring speaks to the type of coach he is and how his role with the Hawkeyes has been perceived nationally. It also speaks to the type of success Iowa has enjoyed. When programs find success, assistant coaches get hired.

That’s been the case with the Hawkeyes after three consecutive 20-plus win seasons and a pair of NCAA Tournament trips. It would have been three consecutive trips, but, of course, the 2019-20 season ended with the tournament being canceled.

With Taylor on staff, the Hawkeyes and Iowa head men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery enjoyed several of their best offensive seasons in school history. Iowa ranked fifth nationally in scoring offense each of the past two seasons at 83.7 points per game in the 2020-21 season and 83.2 points per game.

The Hawkeyes had national player of the year finalists each of the past three seasons in center Luka Garza (2020, 2021) and forward Keegan Murray this past season. Garza actually swept the national awards last season.

The Phoenix finished last season 10-22 overall and 7-11 in the Colonial Athletic Association.

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