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Former Arizona State associate head men's basketball coach and long-time college assistant Dedrique Taylor was appointed the 11th men's basketball head coach in Cal State Fullerton history, Athletic Director Jim Donovan announced on April 3, 2013.
"I think Dedrique is a perfect fit for the Cal State Fullerton program," Donovan said. "His ties to Southern California will help us immensely in our recruiting efforts and his experience in a major conference like the Pac-12 will serve him well in helping bring our program into the upper echelons of the Big West Conference and compete for championships."
Entering his second season at Cal State Fullerton, Taylor completed his first year at the helm of the program with a record of 11-20 as well as a 6-10 mark in Big West play. The Titans finished tied for sixth in the league standings, and posted a successful record of 8-6 at Titan Gym while struggling on the road (3-12). Fullerton lost 60 percent of its offense from the previous year, as seven of the 12 Fullerton players that saw action in 2014 had never worn a Titan jersey before.
Titan guard Michael Williams was named to the Big West Conference second team, while he was also named the conference Newcomer of the Year. Alex Harris garnered Big West honorable mentional accolades.
Season highlights included Taylor earning his first win as a head coach after the Titans defeated Montana State, 84-55, in Bozeman, Mont., on Nov. 9 in the team’s season opener. Taylor is the fifth Titan head coach to win his first game at Cal State Fullerton.
Fullerton opened Big West play with a 78-73 win over UC Riverside, and other significant wins included a 74-72 victory against UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 25 at Titan Gym as the Gauchos finished second in the league standings. In addition, Fullerton overcame a 14-point deficit and shot a season-high 56.4 percent from the floor in an 84-76 win over Long Beach State as the 49ers finished third in the league standings.
Named as one of the top 25 assistant coaches in the nation by CollegeInsider.com in 2010, Taylor spent the seven seasons (2007-13) helping rebuild the Sun Devils' program, leading ASU to four 20-win seasons, including a trip to the NCAA Second Round in 2008-09 with a 25-10 overall record -- the most victories for the program since 1974-75 and the second of three-straight 20-win seasons for Arizona State, something that hadn't happened since 1961-62. He was elevated to the position of associate head coach in the spring of 2010.
In 2012-13, the Sun Devils finished 22-13 and 10-10 in the Pacific-12 Conference, advancing to the second round of the National Invitational Tournament with a win over Detroit and a narrow three-point loss on the road at Baylor.
In all, Arizona State was 120-109 (.524) in his seven seasons.
“I am really excited for Coach Taylor to become a head coach
in the Southern California area. In my time while being recruited
to and at Arizona State, he was very important to my development as
a player, and he will do a great job in connecting with each
player. He is a good friend of my family, and I am excited to
follow the Titan program. Cal State Fullerton has hired an
excellent coach for its players, both now and in the
-- James Harden
Arizona State Guard (2007-09)
A native Californian, Taylor joined the Sun Devils' program after spending two seasons as Nevada, helping the Wolf Pack to a 27-6 overall record and a third-straight NCAA Tournament in 2005-06. While in Reno, he coached a pair of forwards to All-Western Athletic Conference honors, including two-time WAC Player of the Year Nick Fazekas, and helped Nevada to 52 wins in his two seasons.
Prior to that, Taylor also spent two seasons as an assistant at Portland State (2002-04) and one season apiece at Loyola Marymount (2001-02) and Big West Conference rival UC Davis (2000-01).
As a player, Taylor began his career at Kings River Community College (now Reedley College) out of Pomona High School in 1993-94, helping his team reach the "Elite Eight" and "Final Four" in the California Junior College state playoffs. He then transferred to Armstrong Atlantic State in Savannah, Georgia, for the 1994-95 season, helping the Pirates to the most wins in school history to that point and a trip to the NCAA Division II "Sweet 16."
He finished his career at UC Davis, playing two seasons (1996-97), and helping the Aggies to a 43-16 overall record and a pair of trips to the second round of the NCAA Regional Tournament. He graduated from UC Davis with a degree in sociology and organizational studies in 1997 and earned a master's degree in sports administration from the United States Sports Academy in 2000.
"I would like to thank Jim Donovan and the selection committee for believing in my vision for Titan Basketball," Taylor said. "My coaching journey has brought me to a place I call home, and I value that immensely. I look forward to positively impacting the lives of the young men that are currently in the program and the lives of future Titans as well. Together we will represent Fullerton with pride."
PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
Cal State Fullerton Athletic Director Jim Donovan -
"He hails from Pomona and he's coming home. He had a phenomenal interview. Full of energy. At the end of the interview, he left most of the selection committee with goosebumps because he said, in closing, 'This is my destiny. I'm coming home. I'm going to lead this program and we're going to go places.' We are so very pleased to have someone of his character."
Head Men's Basketball Coach Dedrique Taylor -
"First and foremost, I'd like to thank Jim Donovan and the committee for the opportunity, for trusting me and the vision I have for this program. I am extremely excited about the opportunity that we have before us."
"I'm looking forward to working hand-in-hand with the administration here and the rest of the people on campus to put Cal State Fullerton as a university, as well as an athletic department, on a different stage -- on a stage that's never been seen -- and the only way we can do that is if everybody is moving in the same direction and that direction is graduation and winning basketball games."
"Our immediate goal is to continue the educational mission of the largest university in the State of California. Deliver the student-athletes one of the best experiences of their lives. That's what college is all about. I'm looking forward to being a huge part in teaching life lessons through this game we call basketball. It's taken me across the world. I've met people that I didn't even know, obviously, existed, but opportunities that have come because of this game I am anxious to share with the young men that I will encounter on a daily basis… not only just our team, but in our community."
"A big part of me being so excited about having the chance to come home is because I represent the local community here. I'm from here. I grew up playing open gym in this very gym. I spent my summers trying to hone what really small skills I had in this gym. This place has always been special to me because of that."
"We have an opportunity, from this stage, from my position, to impact and positively affect the lives of those we come in contact with and that's what drives me. That's what motivates me and I'm excited to share that vision with all of you in this room and, most important, the student-athletes that are here now, the past athletes that have come through here, and the ones that will come through the doors as prospective student-athletes."
"I would be remiss if I didn't mention the past of Titan basketball. Coach George McQuarn. Cedric Ceballos. Bruce Bowen. All of those names are guys that we will go back and put our arms around. It's important to understand the history of what we had to get where we're going as we move forward. Those guys will be an integral part of what we're trying do as well as the greater community here."
"From a reciting standpoint, obviously, Southern California is a huge hotbed for us and we plan to take advantage of that and some of the relationships we have. Recruiting to me is just a polished word for 'relationships.' People will help who they are friends with and who they trust. Here at Cal State Fullerton, I have already met multiple people who understand that and share that vision. I am looking forward to walking around in the community and expressing that care and concern and let people know that that is present here at Cal State Fullerton and we're looking forward to it being a major pillar in our basketball program."
"Our style of play, everybody wants to know, 'What are you going to do? How are you going to play?' Well, guess what, we are going to get up and down and move around. We are going to have some fun. We are going to try to play as fast as we can play good. I don't want to be a bunch of wild banshees running around out here, but I want to get up and down the floor. I want our guys to understand that the first six seconds of the shot clock are theirs. If we rebound and defend, I'm giving them six seconds to go and get a quick bucket. If not, we do some different things and I'll control the next part of the shot clock and the last part of the shot clock, we'll put guys into positions where we think they can have success."
"My academic resume i have to credit my parents. My dad is a long-time educator, my mom is a former English teacher… that's all I knew, was education. I didn't have much of a choice in terms of getting a degree. So that's the same thing I carry with me and the same expectations I have. I got a master's degree because I was trying to be a professional student. I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. Now, I understand why I got it. I understand why I went through that process. When I was coming up, having a college degree made you a little bit different. Nowadays, having a master's separates you just a little bit. And they need to understand that education is one of the pertinent ways to success. And it's important that they understand that, without academics, there's nothing you can do on this floor. There's very little you can do in life. As far as our program is concerned, character is something that is extremely important to me, and I will never sacrifice character for anything else. Going to class, being a good person, trying to do what's right, those are the things that are important. I think if you live by those three tenants, you can have a long successful life. For us, moving forward, academics is going to be something that we are going to have to wrap our arms around and understand that Cal State Fullerton doesn't stand for anything but your best in the classroom. I didn't say you always have to have an 'A,' I said your best. Trust me, I've had my share of one-legged 'A's' and 'D's,' but I gave it everything I had, and I'm proud of 'F's' and 'D's.' Once again, that's a part of the struggle. That's a part of the process. You have to go through those things to get to where you're trying to go. It's important for guys to understand that I stand before you with a masters for a reason. It's to give you motivation. It's to give you direction. It's to give you guidance and leadership, expectations. Academics will be something that Dr. Meredith Basil and I will get together and get going on extremely quickly. There's going to be a lot of structure, especially early. Guys have to earn the right to get off the study table. We're going to have two hours of study hall a day, four times a week. It's coming. Academics are something that allows us to be where we are so the structure is going to be extremely important."
On his years at Arizona State and his impact on
"Once again, recruiting to me is just a polished word for 'relationships.' When I went to Arizona State, I didn't know Coach (Herb) Sendek. We had some mutual friends that connected us and we had a chance to forge a relationship that will last me a lifetime. The lessons learned, the details. From a recruiting specific standpoint, I'm from here, I want all of our team to understand that going out in the community, it's a privilege to represent Cal State Fullerton. What I thought we did the best at Arizona State, was we tried to establish a brand. So, what I'd like to try and do here is establish a brand here so that when Cal State Fullerton walks into the gym, people need to know that there must be a high-character, tough, skilled player in the gym that we want him. That's what we want to be the pillars of our program."
On building the program on four-year players versus
"You know, I'd like to build from the ground-up, but I think it's imperative that we try to be as successful as possible as quick as possible. I think right now everything is on the table. Trying to create a hodgepodge of talent immediately, we have some opportunities to affect that. I'd like to build it through high school players and supplement it with junior college players, prep school players, and transfers but, the beauty of Cal State Fullerton, because of the latitude academically, you can appeal to a bunch of different players from all over the world. There are multiple opportunities for guys to come here and get a wealth of experience academically, and I want to take advantage of that because, I think, it allows you to recruit different types of people, whether they be high school players, junior college players, international players. So, right now, I'm not going to say we're going to get into any one thing specifically. We're going to be academic-driven so that guys that are on our campus, they understand the significance of going to class, but they also understand how we are going to play and buy into it. From that standpoint, right now, we're going to be a little bit of everything but, eventually, I'd like to be a 'high school' program as the emphasis."
On his goals for his first season…
"I think, as you look at our game of basketball, skill, nowadays, is a commonality. Everybody has a skill set at a pretty high level. I think the intangibles that we have, I've gotten away from, are energy, effort, and execution. That's what I would like to affect starting Monday when we meet as a team. Our effort has to improve just 10 percent in every area of your life. Academics, 10 percent more. In the weight room with 10 percent better effort. In your focus, just a 10 percent better effort. Those are the things that really want to immediately affect change in is just our effort, our energy, and playing hard, and then, once again, establishing that brand that we're going to play hard every single night, no matter who we're playing. And our opponent will feel that. That's something that we're excited about, and then, I think we can get into the 'X' and 'O' part of it."
On what kind of defense fans can expect…
"I grew up on the Lakers and the Lakers played a pretty fast brand of basketball that started with the defensive effort. I think what I'd like to do is get after it and pressure the ball and really try to take teams out of their initial options. If we can do that, if we can make them go to their second or third options by being pressure-based, physical, and move, I think we'll be able to affect change with our style of play. Defensively, I want to be man-to-man, I want to press, I'd also like to employ a zone defense that we can do a lot of things with, extend it and press out of it, but I want to be based on a man-to-man, pressure, fundamentally sound defensive presence."
|DEDRIQUE TAYLOR YEAR-BY-YEAR COACHING CAREER|
|2004-05||Nevada||Assistant||25-7||.781||16-2||1st||NCAA 2nd Rd.|
|2005-06||Nevada||Assistant||27-6||.818||13-3||1st||NCAA 1st Rd.|
|2007-08||Arizona State||Assistant||21-13||.618||9-9||t5th||NIT Quarterfinals|
|2008-09||Arizona State||Assistant||25-10||.714||11-7||t3rd||NCAA 2nd Rd.|
|2009-10||Arizona State||Assistant||22-11||.667||12-6||2nd||NIT 1st Rd.|
|2010-11||Arizona State||Assoc. HC||12-19||.387||4-14||10th||--|
|2011-12||Arizona State||Assoc. HC||10-21||.387||6-12||10th||--|
|2012-13||Arizona State||Assoc. HC||22-13||.629||10-10||t6th||NIT 2nd Rd.|
|2013-14||Cal State Fullerton||Head Coach||11-20||.355||6-10||t6th||--|
|Head Coach||1 year||--||11-20||.355||6-10||--||--|