Head men’s basketball coach Rod Barnes has announced the addition of Benjy Taylor to the coaching staff of the defending 2016 WAC Tournament champion CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners.
Taylor comes to CSUB following one season at Southeast Missouri State and the previous four years at Hawai’i including a stint as interim head coach during the 2014-15 season. During his leadership in ’14-’15, 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.
“We are very excited to have Coach Taylor join our program and family,” Barnes said. “He brings to us a ton of experience having been a head coach on several levels and having coached in several regions of the country.”
With CSUB, Taylor’s main responsibilities will be recruiting and coaching on the floor following a decorated career with numerous NCAA Tournament and NIT squads, eight different Division I programs, including the 2000-01 Pepperdine squad that went 22-9 and advanced to the second round of the NIT.
“He has a wealth of knowledge on the floor and has recruited both nationally and internationally,” Barnes said. “I have known him for many years and his work ethic and desire to win lines up with what we want here. Most of all coach Taylor’s commitment to development and the personal growth of student-athletes is why I hired him.”
Prior to Hawai’i, Taylor was the head coach at Chicago State for three years. During his tenure, he helped the Cougars achieve new heights in its Division I era, including the program’s first winning season in more than 23 years. The 2008-09 squad finished with a 19-13 season ledger and also finished the season ranked third nationally in scoring and steals. For his efforts, he captured ‘Independent Division I Coach of the Year’ honors.
“I am excited to coach with Coach Barnes and become a member of the Roadrunner family,” Taylor said. “Coach Barnes is one of the best coaches in the business and one of the best people I know.”
Prior to Chicago State, Taylor was an assistant coach at Tulane. In his second season at Tulane, Taylor helped the Green Wave compile a 17-13 overall record, including a 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, Ill., where he guided the program for three seasons. It was Taylor’s second tour of duty in the state. Taylor was previously the associate head coach at Northern Illinois from 1995-2000, helping the Huskies reach the NCAA Tournament in 1996 after posting a 20-10 record. Taylor has also served as an assistant coach at Cornell (1991-92), The Citadel (1992-95) and Indiana State (2004-05).
“The tradition that is being built at CSUB and the culture is one I want to be a part of,” Taylor said. “I am looking forward to helping these young men grow and meet the demands of championship basketball.”
As a student-athlete, Taylor was a four-year letter winner with the University of Richmond (1985-89). His teams registered an 85-38 (.691) record during his career with two NCAA Tournament appearances (1986, ’88) and one NIT Tournament bid (1989). The 1988 Spider team advanced to the Sweet Sixteen with upsets of Indiana and Georgia Tech in the NCAA Tournament.
Taylor earned his bachelor’s degree with a double major in criminal justice and sociology and remained with the Spiders as a graduate assistant coach, earning a master’s degree in sports management. During his two years as a graduate assistant coach at Richmond, he helped his alma mater to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments. In the first round of the 1991 NCAA Tourney, Richmond upset Syracuse, the first time a 15-seed defeated a two-seed in NCAA Tournament history.
“I am also excited to be in Bakersfield,” Taylor said. “The community has embraced me and I have embraced the community and I am excited about Roadrunner basketball.”
Hiring a high-quality assistant coach like Taylor is another step for the Roadrunners who made their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 2016 and are looking to defend their WAC Tournament title in 2016-17. Season tickets for the highly-anticipated 2016-17 season are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 654-BLUE. Single-game tickets will be made available once the full schedule is released later this month.