Auburn University is expected to name current NC State associate head coach Gary Taylor as the Tigers’ new head coach, according to sources close to the program. That will fill the vacancy left by Brett Hawke, the Australian Olympian who resigned after ten years as Auburn’s head coach.
Update: the move has now been announced on both Taylor’s and Auburn’s Twitter accounts
THANK YOU to @AuburnPrez @AGreeneIV and @AuburnTigers for this tremendous opportunity! @AuburnSwimDive will do this University, athletic department, and community PROUD. I’m so EXCITED to be a part of this. #Official #WDE ? https://t.co/RQRRBnuDpN
— Gary Taylor (@AUBCoachTaylor) April 30, 2018
Gary Taylor named Auburn swimming and diving head coach https://t.co/1268tdEmPR
— Auburn Swim & Dive (@AuburnSwimDive) April 29, 2018
Taylor will come to Auburn after six years at NC State, the past two of which he spent as the associate head coach. At NC State, Taylor worked primarily with the distance crew, including Anton Ipsen, the 2018 men’s NCAA champion in the mile. Taylor’s distance background contrasts with Auburn’s longstanding reputation as a sprint factory.
He’ll be taking over a program that has struggled, relatively speaking, the past couple of seasons, with the men’s team finishing out of the top ten at NCAAs the past two years, and the women’s team finishing 16th last season. Taylor will still have plenty of talent on the roster, including American sprinter Zach Apple and World Juniors champ Hugo Gonzalez of Spain.
Before his time at NC State, Taylor coached for four years at Florida State, and before that coached for Dynamo Swim Club in Georgia and the Twin Cities Swim team in Minnesota. He is a 2001 graduate of the University of Minnesota.
Taylor’s expected hiring comes a little over a week after Wisconsin hired Cal assistant Yuri Suguiyama to fill the vacancy left by Whitney Hite’s departure, and TCU hired James Winchester after a tumultuous few months for that program. Meanwhile, a number of major Division I vacancies remain, most notably Florida and Virginia Tech.
We didn’t initially list Taylor when we looked at some of the buzz surrounding possible candidates for the Auburn gig, focusing on experienced head coaches. But, NC State head coach Braden Holloway publicly removed himself from the running pretty quickly, and Cal head coach Dave Durden, who had previously been an assistant at Auburn, signed a new contract just few days ago.
However, Taylor’s hiring makes plenty of sense, especially after another former NC State coach, Todd DeSorbo, had quite the successful first season as head coach at the University of Virginia.
There’s no word yet on the status of Auburn’s current assistants, including Sergio Lopez.