Taylor returns to sidelines with the Atlanta Dream
ATLANTA – The Atlanta Dream has named former University of South Carolina assistant coach Darius Taylor to the same role, announced head coach Nicki Collen Wednesday. Per team policy, terms of Taylor’s contract are not disclosed.
Most recently, Taylor has served as an Advisor for AthLife, Inc., an organization specializing in providing career and education services for professional and post-professional athletes. He also has experience coaching with Dawn Staley at USC and Temple and as the manager of community and player programs for the NBA Developmental League (NBADL).
“I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Darius and his family to the Atlanta Dream,” Collen said. “Darius is a rising star in this profession and someone who understands winning. From his time in basketball operations with USA Basketball, to working with Dawn Staley at Temple and South Carolina, he has helped produce winning players and teams his entire career.
“Darius has a very calm demeanor and his background helping professional athletes navigate life after pro sports gives him a quality that I know our Dream players will greatly respect. His strength in the player development area is something I identified as a need for our team and his work ethic matches what I want to model for our team.”
In five seasons with South Carolina, Taylor made an impact on the program’s post players. Despite being undersized for SEC standards for his first three campaigns, the Gamecocks steadily improved on the glass, culminating in leading the SEC and ranking 10th in the nation in rebounding margin in 2012-13. He coached back-to-back SEC Freshman of the Years in Alaina Coates (2013-14) and A’ja Wilson (2014-15). In his final season at USC, the team finished the season ranked No. 3 overall, the highest finish in program history, won its first SEC Tournament title and reached the Final Four for the first time in program history.
“I am extremely excited to join the Atlanta Dream organization and to be back coaching basketball at an elite level,” Taylor said. “I look forward to the opportunity and the challenge of helping build the Dream into a championship contender. The Atlanta Dream is a world class organization ran by great owners and leadership. I would like to thank Coach Nicki Collen and the rest of the organization for showing confidence in my abilities and look forward to working under her tutelage.”
Prior to joining the Gamecock staff, Taylor worked for two years with the NBADL, promoting personal, professional and social development in the league’s players. He devised a comprehensive program that educated players about nutritional health, money management and career development.
Before taking an off-the-court role with the NBADL, Taylor spent four seasons on Staley’s staff at Temple, helping the Owls to consecutive Atlantic 10 Tournament titles and four NCAA Tournament appearances. He worked closely with former Owl Candice Dupree who closed her career with AP All-America honors in addition to being named A-10 Player of the Year and A-10 Defensive Player of the Year. Dupree was the sixth pick in the 2006 WNBA Draft.
Taylor has two years of experience with USA Basketball, serving as its assistant director of competitive programs (2002-04). He got his first taste of coaching as a team leader at the Chicago Bulls Basketball Schools (2000-02). During that time, he served as an intern at the Big Ten Conference, working with the marketing and merchandising programs.
A four-year basketball letterwinner at the University of Michigan, Taylor was a Big Ten Academic All-American en route to his bachelor of arts in sport management and communications (2000).
Taylor married the former Joni Crenshaw in 2015 and the couple welcomed their first child, Jacie Elise, in 2016.