Former Hawaii Interim Head Coach Benjy Taylor Joins SEMO Staff

Benjy Taylor joined the Southeast Missouri men’s basketball staff as an assistant coach.

Taylor was interim head coach at the University of Hawai’i during the 2014-15 season, leading the Rainbow Warriors to a 22-13 record.

UH advanced to the Big West Conference Tournament final and recorded its second-straight 20-plus win season, marking the program’s first back-to-back 20-win campaigns in 17 years. Taylor was named the Hugh Durham Mid Season Mid Major National Coach of the Year following the 2014-15 campaign.

“I am excited that Benjy has decided to join our staff here at Southeast Missouri State,” said Redhawks head coach Rick Ray. “He brings a wealth of experience and will be a great asset to our players and current staff. To find someone with his resumé during a non-traditional hiring period is an enormous benefit to our program. We have been working understaffed for months now and Benjy will allow us to get a jump on recruiting quality student-athletes with his years of contacts and connections.”

Taylor worked five years at UH, spending three as the team’s associate head coach before taking over as interim head coach. He boasts 20 years of collegiate coaching experience with a pair of head coaching stints.

In his first season at UH, Taylor helped guide the team to a 19-13 finish and an appearance in the 2011 Postseason Tournament. As coaching of the UH wings, Taylor mentored Zane Johnson, who twice earned all-conference honors and became the school’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made.

“I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity to join the Southeast Missouri State Basketball Family,” said Taylor. “Coach Ray is one of the best and brightest young coaches in the business and I am excited and ready to get to work. I look forward to helping build a championship program at Southeast.”

Taylor has been part of numerous NCAA and NIT squads while coaching in a full-time capacity with eight Division I programs in his career.

In addition to UH, he worked as an assistant coach at Cornell (1991-92), The Citadel (1992-95), Northern Illinois (1995-2000), Pepperdine (2000-01), Indiana State (2004-05) and Tulane (2005-07). Taylor was then head coach at Chicago State (2007-10).

During his tenure at Chicago State, Taylor helped the Cougars reach new heights in its Division I era. Chicago State secured its first winning season in more than 23 years when Taylor’s 2008-09 team finished with a 19-13 record and ranked third nationally in scoring and steals. He earned Independent Division I Coach of the Year and HSBC Coach of the Year accolades for his efforts.

Before Chicago State, Taylor was an assistant coach at Tulane. In 2006-07, Taylor helped the Green Wave compile a 17-13 overall record and top division finish, only one full season removed from the devastating after-effects of Hurricane Katrina.

After helping Pepperdine to an NIT appearance in 2001, Taylor landed his first head coaching stint at NCAA Division III North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, where he led the program for three seasons.

It was Taylor’s second tour of duty in the state, having previously served as associate head coach at Northern Illinois. The Huskies made the 1996 NCAA Tournament after posting a 20-10 record.

As a player, Taylor was a four-year letterman at the University of Richmond (1985-89). His teams compiled an 85-38 (.691) record during his career with a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances (1986, 1988) and one NIT   Tournament berth (1989).

The 1988 Richmond team made it to the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen with upsets of Indiana and Georgia Tech along the way.

Taylor earned his bachelor’s degree with a double major in criminal justice and sociology at Richmond and remained with the Spiders as a graduate assistant coach. He helped lead his alma mater to back-to-back NCAA   Tournaments, while completing his master’s degree in sports management as a graduate assistant.

Photo Courtesy SEMO

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