Jason TaylorHead Coach
Office Phone: (864) 231-2022
After guiding his team to its’ second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Southeast Championship contest, Anderson University head men’s basketball coach Jason Taylor was named the 2012 Southeast Region Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).
Taylor, a native of Clarkrange, Tenn., guided the Trojans to a school-record 26 wins last season and was also named the South Atlantic Conference Coach of the Year after leading Anderson to the league’s regular-season crown with a stellar 17-1 record, as AU became just the second current member since Carson-Newman in 2001-02 to go through the league slate with just one loss. Anderson posted the most regular-season league wins in SAC history and notched the highest league winning percentage (.944) in conference history.
Taylor begins his seventh season at the helm of the Trojans’ men’s basketball program in 2012 after being named head coach at Anderson on May 31, 2006. He became Anderson’s all-time winningest men’s basketball coach with the Trojans’ 96-78 home win past Mars Hill last December, surpassing former head coach Doug Novak’s 80-win tally. Taylor has averaged 17 wins per season since taking the reins for the 2006-07 campaign and led AU to its’ first-ever appearance in the Elite Eight in 2011, and its’ second consecutive 20-win season after finishing 21-12 in 2010-11.
In 2011, AU capped off its’ second consecutive stellar season by becoming the first team from the state of South Carolina since Lander in 1999 to claim a regional championship and just the second South Atlantic Conference school to earn a trip to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight.
The Trojans made their second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament and nearly reached the Final Four after defeating 10th-ranked Lincoln Memorial and third-ranked Augusta State en route to the school’s first-ever Southeast Regional title last March.
With a final record of 21-12, Anderson recorded the third-highest win total in school history. The Trojans were also the first squad in school history to combine three consecutive winning seasons along with four straight years of finishing .500 or better in the league’s regular-season schedule.
Taylor guided AU to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history in 2010, leading the Trojans to a then school-record 24 wins. Taylor was the youngest coach to guide a men’s basketball team to the NCAA Tournament in either Division I or D-II in 2010.
He originally joined the Anderson coaching staff in May, 2003 as an assistant coach and head junior varsity coach, spending three seasons with head coach Doug Novak, Anderson’s former all-time winningest coach as a member of NCAA Division II.
The Trojans’ win total has shown marked improvement each season under Taylor’s direction, as he led AU to their first winning season in seven years in 2008-09. Anderson notched 15 victories, and either equaled or set 11 school records en route to earning a conference tournament semifinal berth for the first time since 2002. Under Coach Taylor’s guidance, guard Bandon Young earned first-team all-conference honors and forward Stephen Cobb was named to the conference all-tournament team.
In 2007-08, the second-year coach led a roster that had more freshmen than upperclassmen to a competitive 12-16 overall record and a 10-10 ledger in Conference Carolinas play. The league finish was Anderson's first .500 or better record in Conference Carolinas play in six years.
By the end of Taylor’s first season at the helm of the program, the Trojans were playing the toughest teams in the league down to the final possession, battling the likes of Barton College, the eventual Division II national champions, to double overtime, while playing top teams in the league down to the wire in the final weeks of the regular season.
In addition to the on-court improvements of the team, the Trojans have a 100% graduation rate for players who have exhausted their eligibility under Coach Taylor and the team continually participates in various community service projects throughout the year, including mentoring at local elementary schools, helping with local park improvements and offering free basketball clinics for area youth.
The program’s summer camps have also grown over the last five years. Taylor started the school’s first ever Middle School Team Camp which doubled in size in the first two years. The Trojans have also offered during the summers day camps and specialty skills camps. Among other things, the specialty camps have included a shooting camp and a guard skills camp. Taylor’s camps have provided an affordable and enjoyable way for the local youth to learn the fundamental skills of basketball.
Taylor started his playing career at Aquinas College in Nashville, Tennessee. From Aquinas, Taylor transferred to Roane State where he redshirted in 1997-98 before playing the following season for the Raiders, averaging 17 points per game as a redshirt sophomore. He was named the MVP of the Pensacola Junior College Thanksgiving Classic, and was also named to the TJCAA All-Eastern Division team, leading the TJCAA in 3-point shooting.
Taylor signed to play at Jacksonville State in Alabama following the 1999 season at Roane State. During his junior campaign with the Gamecocks, Taylor was a member of JSU’s first winning season since moving to Division I. The Gamecocks finished 17-11 which was good for a third-place finish in what was then the Trans American Athletic Conference (TAAC) and is now the Atlantic Sun Conference.
During his playing career, Taylor played for some of the best coaches in the profession. He played for TJCAA Hall of Fame coach Charlie Anderson. He also played for Randy Nesbit, former Southern Conference Coach of the Year at The Citadel. Taylor played one season under Mark Turgeon at JSU. Turgeon was the head coach at Wichita State during their Sweet 16 run in the NCAA tournament in 2005-06 and is now the head coach at Maryland.
Taylor earned an associate of science degree from Roane State in 1999 and a B.S. degree in health and physical education from Jacksonville State University in 2001 and two years before arriving at Anderson, Taylor was the assistant basketball coach, adjunct professor of physical education and fitness center supervisor at Roane State.
Ryan HilburnAssistant Coach
Office Phone: (864) 231-2022
Ryan Hilburn is entering his fourth season with the Trojans with a wealth of experience after joining the staff prior to the 2010-11 season, arriving with previous assistant coaching stints at Lander, Armstrong Atlantic, Charleston Southern and South Carolina.
The native of Charleston, S.C. served as an assistant coach last season at Lander University after spending the 2008-09 campaign as a graduate assistant under head coach Jeff Burkhamer at Armstrong Atlantic State. Hilburn held the same position for two years at Charleston Southern (2006-08). He also served on the University of South Carolina staff as an undergraduate (2003-06) under Hall of Fame coach Dave Odom.
With the Pirates, Hilburn helped guide AASU to a 23-7 record and a top-25 NABC ranking. Armstrong Atlantic claimed its fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in five seasons before dropping a narrow decision to Catawba in 2009. Hilburn also served on the staff of coach Odom while an undergraduate at South Carolina. During his tenure at USC, the Gamecocks made appearances in the SEC Championship game, the NCAA Tournament, and won back-to-back NIT Tournament championships.
He has extensive experience with recruiting, travel, coordinating video and he has also served as strength and conditioning coach and worked with both perimeter and post players in their skill development.
Hilburn earned his bachelor’s degree in sport management from the University of South Carolina in 2006 and graduated from Northwood Academy in 2000. While at Northwood Academy, he helped lead the Chargers to the SCISA AA State Basketball Championship in 2000. He is married the former Katie Kranz of Spartanburg, S.C., and the couple resides in Anderson
Brandon YoungAssistant Coach
David BentleyVolunteer Assistant
David Bentley enters his fifth year with the men's basketball program, having joined the team in the fall of 2008 as a freshman from
Bentley's duties with the team include practice and game preparation, distribution of equipment, laundry and fulfilling needs of players and coaches. The Greer, S.C., native also helps organize summer camps, mailings and assist in preseason and postseason workouts.
Bentley spent four years working with Jeff Neely at Greer High School from 2004-2008 as a team manager and student assistant. He was a valuable member of the 2005 Yellow Jacket team that won the Class AAA state championship and was named to the 2007 Greer Christmas Classic All Tournament Team in honor of his hard work.
Bentley also was an assistant coach in the spring of 2008 for the FCA-sponsored Greenville/Spartanburg All Star Game. He also gained extensive experience assisting with local AAU programs while in high school.
Bentley has worked several team and individual camps around the Southeast, including Anderson, Presbyterian, Wofford and camps in Atlanta and Charlotte with other organizations. He also assists with Shooting for Heaven basketball camp under Jeff Neely.
A junior majoring in physical education, Bentley has aspirations to become a basketball coach in the future and is on track to graduate in the spring of 2012.
Jerome ConeyStudent Assistant/Video Coordinator