Johnny Taylor Happy to Return to UTC

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Updated: 7/16/2013 7:10 pm

Chattanooga-(WDEF) Johnny Taylor was a large part of UTC's memorable run to the Sweet 16 in 1997. Now the former NBA player and Howard grad will try to revive the glory days as a Mocs assistant.

At first, Mocs coach Will Wade had no intentions of hiring Johnny Taylor. But the process got started when Wade was reaching out to former players. Said Wade,"He was on his back porch in Orlando one morning when I called him. Johnny over the course of the conversation told me his parents still lived in Chattanooga. He wanted to get his degree from Chattanooga, and that he was interested now that he was done playing, possibly getting into coaching."

The more they talked, the more Wade wanted to have Taylor on board. Few days later, Wade called Taylor to offer him a student assistant coaching job. Said Taylor,"He called me back and gave me that news. I almost turned a flip. Last time I turned a flip though I tore my achilles. So I decided not to turn anymore flips. (laughter) It was an opportunity that I wanted to help me further my career once I get that degree. Because really, coaching on any level on NBA or whatever, it's very difficult to do without getting that degree first."

Taylor is looking forward to mentoring the Mocs, but what about school? He's 26 hours short of his criminal justice degree. Reporter-"Will it be funny to be a student again?" Said Taylor,"Real funny." (laughter) "Well the good thing about that is they have what is called on-line school now. Go to one or two classes. Knock that out. The rest of the time, I'm doing what I live to do. And that's being in the gym and around the guys contributing where I can."

Taylor led the Mocs to the Sweet 16 in '97. Now he wouldn't mind a repeat performance as a coach. "Wouldn't that be a great story to write. That's what I'm talking about right there to come full circle."

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