COLLEGE STATION, Texas (BVM) — With legendary Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair retiring, the Aggies women’s basketball program needed a new leader. And they have found one in Joni Taylor.
Under Blair, the Aggies won a national championship in 2011 and appeared in the NCAA Tournament 15 times. Blair also helped the Aggies win regular-season titles in 2007 and 2021. But now, with Taylor, they’ll aim to continue their success.
“I have known Coach Blair since I was a player at the University of Alabama, and he was at Arkansas,” Taylor said in a release. “The way he led young women on and off the court and was a steward of our game is something I have always admired. He created a national championship program during his 19 years at A&M; to be able to continue that legacy is an honor. I am excited to have the opportunity to be around him, learn from him, and for him to show me the way.”
Taylor has spent the last seven seasons at the University of Georgia coaching the Lady Bulldogs. In Athens, she collected 140 wins and 64 wins in conference play. Including regular-season success, Taylor helped the Lady Bulldogs to four NCAA Tournaments, including two top-four seeds in 2018 and 2021.
Because of these wins and accomplishments, she was also recognized as the SEC Coach of the Year and was a finalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year. Taylor was the youngest SEC Coach of the Year winner since 2010, when former Kentucky women’s basketball head coach Matthew Mitchell won the award.
“As the process evolved, and the more we got to know Coach Taylor, it became crystal clear that she is the right coach to lead our program into this new era of Aggie basketball,” Texas A&M Director of Athletics Ross Bjork said in the release. “Her passion, energy, knowledge of the game, recruiting acumen, experience in the SEC and leadership in modern-day college athletics are all the characteristics that make Coach Taylor the perfect fit for Texas A&M and our basketball program.”
When it comes to basketball, Taylor has accomplished a lot. Now, as she prepares to lead her new team for the upcoming NCAA basketball season, Taylor couldn’t be happier about where she is and what lies ahead.
“I have always been struck by Ross’ [Bjork] enthusiasm for furthering women’s athletics,” Taylor said in a release. “He has shown that he wants to be a change agent for our game. As I have gotten the chance to know him and Kristen [Brown] over this process, I have become so excited for the vision that they have for the athletics department and women’s basketball. There are a lot of great coaches in this business; for them to target me and say that I am the one they want to be the leader of this great program is incredibly humbling.”
— Joni Taylor (@CoachJoniTaylor) March 31, 2022