E.A. Sports Today

Falcons tab Taylor

Donoho finds new volleyball coach teaching biology classes; decorated Jacksonville, JUCO player and coach inherits program that has won two of last three state titles

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Donoho didn’t have to look far to find its next volleyball coach. But it wasn’t so much a matter of where but rather of when.

Athletics director Steve Gendron has been trying to get Anna Taylor to coach a team at the school since he arrived on campus, but the timing for her never seemed right and she’d always put him off.

She finally took him up on the offer Wednesday and will be the Lady Falcons’ volleyball coach going forward.

“Everybody, ever since I came to Donoho, even before Steve was there, has asked me to coach, but I had little children,” Taylor said. “My daughter’s now 14 and she was on the JV team last year. My son is about to be 9. They’re just getting to be a little bit older.

“Life throws you some curveballs and I found myself in a situation where there was an opportunity to do something different and reconnect with something that used to be a big part of my life.

“When Steve first came on board he asked me a lot and then after about three years he was like I’m not going to ask you anymore, and he did not. Last year I told him if anything comes up in the future I’m willing to help out. I knew I was getting to the point that I could entertain it because I knew what it would take to get it right and with everything that came down the pipeline now it was something I want to do.”

Taylor succeeds Jamie Clendenin, who announced earlier this month he was not returning to the school in order to pursue other opportunities. Clendenin brought the program back to its former prominence, reaching the state championship match each of the last three years and winning it twice.

Taylor was a decorated high school volleyball player for coach David Clark at Jacksonville as Anna Morris, graduating in 2001. She went on to play two decorated seasons at Central Alabama CC and after finishing her college degree returned to CACC as head coach for three seasons (2006-08) before the program was eliminated due to system-wide budget cuts.

She had coached various Donoho teams in a pinch, but never on a permanent basis. It’s permanent now.

“I could not be more thrilled to have her on board,” Gendron said. “I think the timing is right.”

Taylor knows she has big shoes to fill, but is “very confident” with the players coming back. There may be a new sheriff in town but the expectations will be the same.

“You definitely can’t disregard all of that tradition and history, but next year is going to be a totally different season,” she said. “Different classification, different players, different coach. It’d be hard to compare.

“I’m simply a different coach and that’s what I told the girls. We both bring aa lot of great attributes to the table. It’s going to be a different year in so many different aspects, but we have so much to build from.”

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