New Manchester opened its doors in 2011, making Taylor the school’s inaugural coach.
Originally from Michigan, Taylor played softball in high school and in college at Kentucky State University from 1999 to 2004. Prior to coaching the Jaguars, Taylor was the head coach of the Detroit RBI travel team from 2005 to 2009 and the head softball coach at Douglas County High School in 2010.
“Softball is my love. I turned in my playing cleats for coaching shoes,” Taylor said.
For the first season, the Lady Jaguars went 3-11 but Taylor said she is developing a varsity program and it is a growing process.
“We only played one JV [junior varsity] team last season. I could have scheduled all JV but you play varsity teams if you want a varsity program,” Taylor said. “It’s a new school so players are from four different schools and we have to try to put a team together. We have to create some cohesiveness.”
There was a silver lining to the season. Taylor said that other coaches noted the amount of pure athleticism on her team.
She highlighted the play of rising sophomores Anika Carter and Amari Lawson.
“They will be the foundation for the upcoming season,” Taylor said.
New Manchester softball will play in Region 5-AAAAA this year after playing a non-region schedule in 2011. Taylor said the move will play a part in her coaching strategy this season.
“We are actually in a region now so we’ll be playing to get into the playoffs. We have to leave it all on the field for 21 outs,” Taylor said, in reference to the seven-inning games. “We have to give our all and learn to bounce back from our mistakes. We can’t carry things over to the next inning or even next play.”
Taylor also noted the difficulty that can come with putting a team together at the high school level.
“You never know who your team is until the school year starts because not everyone checks for workouts online during the summer. I’ll have to spend the first two weeks of school advertising to get the students who didn’t check the Internet,” said Taylor.
Taylor said she intends to coach softball for as long as she possibly can.
“I have been involved in softball most of my life. My daughter is even playing in a league now. I would feel like a fish out of water if I wasn’t coaching a game that I love,” Taylor said.