LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- Covenant Head Men's Basketball Coach and Director of Athletics Kyle Taylor has announced that he is stepping down from both positions. Taylor has accepted a position with Utah State University, an NCAA Division I member, to be the director of player development for the men's basketball program under head coach Tim Duryea.
"I am thankful for Kyle and for the great work he has done as athletic director and as men's basketball coach," said Dr. Brad Voyles, Covenant's vice president for student development. "After this past year's trip to the national tournament, he is leaving the men's basketball program in an exciting place for the new coach. And I will always be appreciative of the excellent work Kyle did when asked to step in as athletic director four years ago."
"I am extremely grateful to the entire Covenant College community for allowing me to serve as the head men's basketball coach for the past seven years, and the director of athletics for the past three-plus years," Taylor said. "I want to say a special thank you to Brad Voyles who has been an incredible mentor, boss, and friend to me in my role leading the athletic department."
Taylor spent seven seasons at the helm of the Covenant men's basketball program and four seasons as the director of athletics. Taylor won 65 games during his tenure on the hardwood and guided the program to two winning seasons with a USA South championship and an NCAA Tournament appearance.
Taylor's final season was one of the most memorable ones in program history. Picked to finish 10th in the 11-team USA South, Taylor's squad placed second in the USA South regular season with a 10-4 record and would go on to win three games in three days at the USA South Tournament to claim the title and an automatic berth to the program's first NCAA Tournament. The 18-10 overall record set a program mark for best winning percentage and the 18 wins are tied for fourth-most in the 58-year history of the program.
"Covenant is a special place, and will always have a special place in my heart and for my family. I grew tremendously as a coach, administrator, leader, and man during my time at Covenant," Taylor added. "It's definitely bittersweet. I'm really excited about this new opportunity at Utah State, but it's tough to leave behind a great group of players. I will miss our current group of players, our incoming freshmen, and all the alumni that I have coached."
During his tenure, Covenant placed 18 players on the USA South All-Academic team, had seven players earn NABC Honors Court and produced one CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree. Additionally, Taylor took members of the team on multiple mission trips including to Greece, Costa Rica and, most recently, Puerto Rico.
"I'm proud of what we've accomplished over the past seven years. It hasn't always been easy and there have been many ups and downs along the way," Taylor said. "My goal when I arrived was to put Scots basketball on the map, and with the help of our alumni, current players, and God we have accomplished that. I fully expect Covenant to stay in the upper echelon of the USA South, and compete regularly for a spot in the NCAA tournament."
Taylor stepped into the role of director of athletics in the spring of 2013 and helped lead the department into full membership in NCAA Division III and the USA South Athletic Conference. In each of the first three years in Division III, Covenant won two USA South titles and competed in at least one NCAA Tournament.
Covenant finished fourth in the USA South Presidents Cup in 2015-16, its highest-ever finish, after claiming two conference tournament titles and one regular season championship. Covenant has claimed the USA South Sportsmanship Trophy for three consecutive seasons as it led the conference in team sportsmanship awards, voted on by student-athletes, in each season. Covenant also had an institution record 108 student-athletes earn USA South All-Academic honors in 2015-16.
"As far as being AD and the overall athletic department, I believe the trajectory the department is on is fantastic," Taylor added. "There is an outstanding group of coaches leading their teams; we've been blessed to improved facilities, operating budgets, and coaches' salaries during my time as AD."
In all, during Taylor's time as the director of athletics, Covenant won six USA South championships, three USA South Sportsmanship Trophies and had 311 USA South All-Academic honorees.
An immediate search for a men's basketball coach has begun and a new director of athletics will be announced soon.