E.A. Sports Today

Timing right for Taylor

UPDATED: AHSAA referee Dawson Taylor hired as science teacher at White Plains, will become Wildcats’ baseball coach

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Dawson Taylor has been working his way through Jacksonville State officiating baseball, basketball and football games. Now he’s going to trade part of his side hustle to become a head coach for the first time.

Taylor has been hired as a science teacher in the White Plains system and announced on his Facebook page Wednesday night he would be the Wildcats’ new head baseball coach and assistant football coach.

He’ll replace Chandler Tyree on the diamond. Tyree, the Wildcats’ head football coach, took over the baseball team for Wes Henderson on an emergency basis last spring but never had aspirations to take the position full time, although he has said he’d still be willing to help.

Taylor was one of three teachers approved for White Plains at the same Calhoun County board meeting Tuesday that approved Angie Stewart as the new Ohatchee High School principal. He was working with the football players Wednesday and will meet his baseball players for the first time Thursday.

“I’m very excited,” Taylor said. “I just finished up at JSU this past spring, so I kind of get thrown into the fire a little bit, but I’m excited about the opportunity. They took a chance on me and I’m excited about it.

“My dream was a head baseball job and, tell you the truth, I’m 23 and have no experience but if you would be willing to take a shot on me, I feel I’ll be able to do a good job. I felt it was a perfect timing type thing. It was what I was looking for and what they were looking for; a match made in heaven.”

Taylor, 23, played five years of varsity baseball at Lineville/Clay Central and four years of football at Clay Central. He didn’t play either sport at Southern Union or JSU, focusing instead on his goal of becoming an educator, but he did spend one year as a volunteer assistant football coach at Clay Central during his second year at Southern Union.

“He’s going to be our guy and I support him 100 percent,” White Plains principal Andy Ward said. “I know he’s going to be energetic. I saw that watching him today. In the situation that we’re in, I think he’ll do great.

“I have a certified science teacher who can do the job in the classroom, but we’re talking about a guy who’s never been a varsity head coach in anything, so it’s kind of hard to know what type of head coach he’s going to be, but certainly I’m going to support anybody in what they do.”

Taylor won’t be the only varsity baseball coach in the county who moonlights as a sports official. Alexandria head coach Andy Shaw also officiates games in the baseball offseason.

Taylor officiated baseball and basketball games for four years and worked football the last three. Now that he’s coaching both sports he’ll have to give up calling football and baseball, but he still hopes to “help my guys in basketball when I can.”

And that expeience can be helpful now that he’s going to be on the other side of the game.
“We’re on the other side now,” Taylor said. “Being a referee, and I feel like I was pretty successful, I got to do some big-time games and I’ve been around some good quality coaches, you learn from that.

“I can think of some guys I really thought a lot of and how they handled themselves as coaches and that’s what I want to do. Being a referee, I know how to handle referees. I know what they like and how they want to be approached, so I have a head start on that.”

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