Andrew Taylor – Manchester’s Finest Coach

by | Aug 2023

SOME BOYS want to grow up and become firefighters, police officers, or even the president of the United States. Throughout his childhood, Andrew Taylor dreamed of being the head basketball coach for the Red Raiders of Coffee County High School (CCHS). For the last 26 years, he’s done just that, plus taught American government and coached the volleyball team. Recently named “Manchester’s Finest Coach,” Taylor will say he’d rather just be called “Coach T” because he doesn’t feel worthy of any other titles. 

After graduating from CCHS, Taylor earned an associate degree from Motlow State Community College, a bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University, and a master’s degree in administration and leadership from Tennessee Tech. Taylor credits his wife, Michelle, and his two daughters, Tori and Maddie. “My wife is the rock of our family and the reason I’ve been able to coach all these years. Michelle played and coached softball. She has been an educator for over 22 years. She understands all the good and the bad that goes along with my job. They’ve been so supportive and made lots of sacrifices for me to do this job.” 

Coach T said he invests in the students at CCHS today to honor the teachers and coaches who invested in him when he walked the same hallways. “My motivation comes from the desire to help young people. Whether in the classroom or through sports, I enjoy working with young people. I also enjoy sharing all the lessons that can be learned through competition. The foundation of our country was one that was based on competition. Our economic and political systems are founded on competition. You have the opportunity in sports, as in life, to go out and be successful if you put the work in and maximize your God-given talents.” 

Although Taylor is living his dream, it hasn’t come without struggles. “The worst two days of the year for me as a coach would be tryouts and the day of the banquet,” said Taylor. “The toughest part of my job is telling a young person they will not get to be part of the program. By the time they reach high school, they have spent years playing the game they love, and now, for the first time, someone is taking that away. I take no pleasure in being that someone. I also find the day of the banquet to be very difficult. Saying goodbye to these young people after four long years and countless hours of working together is hard. They are like one of my own, and I miss them dearly.”

Photographed by Ashleigh Newnes.

Helping players on the basketball or volleyball court isn’t completed in just a few hours per week. Taylor says, “As the head coach, we handle player development on and off the court. We handle game planning, scheduling, budgeting, fundraising, and recruiting. Running a high school program is very similar to running a business. We have to maximize talent, time, and resources just like a business owner. I could literally be at the office working on something every day of the year. The first thing we do with our athletes and teams is to set realistic goals. Then we focus on getting better each day. All those days add up, and that helps us get to where we want to be on an individual level and as a team.”

Taylor said he plans to retire in just a few years, and he looks forward to watching his granddaughter, Andi-Kate Adams, play one day. In the meantime, he will continue to plan summer camps and extra practices that put his athletes in a position to be successful on and off the basketball and volleyball courts. “Sports can teach a multitude of things: work ethics, discipline, accountability, teamwork, and adversity are all taught through sports. Players should remember to have fun along the way. Parents, your child has plenty of coaches. Be your child’s biggest fan because four years go by quickly.”

Coach T is proof that dreams really do come true. And he said that when they do, they are even better than you imagined them to be. “This is home, and these are the people that mean the most to me. We try to go out every season and put a team on the court that will make Coffee County proud. It is all about the kids, the school, and the community. We are just lucky enough to be along for the ride.” GN

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