Blaine Taylor: Firing School's Winningest Coach Right Call for Old Dominion
Being the all-time winningest coach in the history of the Old Dominion's men's basketball program was not enough for Blaine Taylor to save his job.
According to the Associated Press, Old Dominion athletic director Wood Selig announced that, in his 12th season as head coach of the Monarchs, Taylor has been fired.
Selig also announced that associate head coach Jim Corrigan will take over head coaching duties, under the interim tag, for the remainder of the season.
Taylor had led the Monarchs to 20 or more wins in seven of the last eight seasons. Under his guidance, the Monarchs had made the NCAA tournament four times, and in 2010, they advanced to the round of 32.
His brand of physical defense and rebounding had clearly been working with the Monarchs, which makes the fact that less than two weeks ago, Selig gave Taylor a vote of confidence in this article by Ed Miller of The Virginian-Pilot.
Despite that, this move was necessary. Old Dominion is absolutely terrible this season. It is just 2-20 on the year, and there aren't any signs of improvement. The Monarchs are on a 10-game losing streak.
There is more to this story though, which Selig eluded to at his press conference and is captured in this tweet by Miller:
Decision "not based solely on wins and losses" Selig— Ed Miller (@edmillervp) February 5, 2013
It is hard not to point to an appearance that Taylor made in late January on his radio show on an ESPN Radio affiliate as being one of those off-the-court reasons. You can view the interview in this article by Timothy Burke of Deadspin.
Taylor gave rambling, often nonsensical answers and slurred his words.
Was this the right move for ODU?
I can't say for certain that Taylor's awkward appearance had anything to do with his dismissal, but something—judging by Selig's comment that it wasn't all about wins and losses—was going on behind the scenes.
This had to be a tough decision for Old Dominion. Taylor has had outstanding success there, but he, for whatever reason, had lost the ability to reach his team.
While Taylor's track record afforded him some leeway beyond one terrible season, this year was spinning out of control, and it looked like it was going to get worse.
Old Dominion did what it could to prevent this disaster of a season from turning into a nightmare that could set the program back for years, and that is definitely the right call.
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