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Southwestern Community College will induct the 1998-99 Spartan men’s basketball team and its coach, Bill Taylor, into the Southwestern Athletic Hall of Fame during a ceremony on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, in the SWCC Student Center.
Taylor was a graduate of Diagonal High School as were team members Mike Goodale and TJ Tassell.
The Hall of Fame event schedule follows: 5:30 p.m., women’s basketball game, SWCC Student Center gymnasium; 7 p.m. (between games), Hall of Fame reception, Student Center upstairs; 7:30 p.m., men’s basketball game, gymnasium; and 8:15 p.m., Induction Ceremony (during halftime of the men’s game), gymnasium. The Spartans will be facing Ellsworth Community College during the games.
This Hall of Fame induction ceremony was originally scheduled to take place on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019, but was postponed due to the sudden passing of Taylor on Nov. 7, 2019. Taylor’s passing left a tremendous void at Southwestern and the college continues to miss him today. He was a fixture at the college and the hope is with this induction, as well as the establishment of an endowment through the college’s Education Foundation, Taylor’s legacy will continue to live on forever.
The 1998-99 Spartan basketball team was the first Southwestern Community College men’s basketball team to qualify for the NJCAA DII National Tournament and will become the first team inducted in the Athletic Hall of Fame. Prior to this, the 1965-66 Creston Community College team reached nationals.
During the 1998-99 season, the Spartans set a team record for 3-point field goal percentage at 40 percent, placing them eighth nationwide. The Spartans also placed seventh nationally in defensive average, allowing only 67 points per game. The Spartans finished the season with a 25-11 record, ultimately finishing seventh at the national tournament.
Throughout his working career at Southwestern, Taylor balanced professional and coaching duties. Taylor was initially hired at Southwestern as a business instructor in 1991. He served as assistant coach for the Southwestern men’s basketball program from 1991-93 under Steve Forbes, who is now the head coach at Wake Forest University. In 1993, Taylor took over at the helm of Spartan men’s basketball. In December 1998, Taylor moved from business instructor to director of the Small Business Development Center. Taylor continued as head coach for the Spartans until 1999. That year, he moved back into the role of assistant coach, and assisted his former player and then Head Coach Mike Morley until 2002, when Taylor moved from the Small Business Development Center director position to become Southwestern’s director of student services. In 2008, Taylor became the college’s vice president of instruction and he served in that role until he succumbed to an aggressive form of pancreatic cancer in 2019.
During Taylor’s head coaching run for the Spartans, he achieved an overall record of 134-62, a .684 winning percentage. He was named NJCAA District 4 Division II Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year and Region XI Division II Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year in 1999. Taylor’s 1996-97 team held the single-season win mark at 25 until it was tied by his 1998-99 team; again tied by Head Coach Todd Lorensen’s team in 2015-16; and toppled by 26 wins from Lorensen’s 2016-17 team.
The Southwestern Community College Athletic Hall of Fame was established in 2013 to honor student-athletes, teams, coaches, administrators, and contributors for their outstanding performance, work support, and/or significant contributions to the Southwestern Community College athletic program. Current Hall of Famers include Ron “Fox” Clinton, retired SWCC athletic director, coach, and instructor; Bill Krejci, longtime SWCC athletic director/athletic fundraiser, coach, and instructor; Rita Schroeder, longtime volleyball coach, graduate, and student-athlete; and David Kragel, former student-athlete and NJCAA men’s basketball First Team All-American.