“I’ve played football for as long as I remember.” Allen Stewart
Senior Allen Stewart was first introduced to the game of football at the local YMCA where he competed on a flag football team. By age seven, he began playing tackle football in the LYF leagues. Before he wore the Episcopal blue and gold, a young Allen was a member of the Baton Rouge Falcons and the South Baton Rouge Rams. Now, football will remain a part of Allen’s story as he recently signed with Rhodes College.
“It just felt at home.”
Allen says when he visited Rhodes, he knew it was the place for him. “Rhodes was the right school for me because it just felt at ‘home.’ I loved the campus and the city of Memphis altogether,” he says. “When looking for a school, I wanted an upstanding academic environment where I would have the opportunity to play football, and Rhodes gave me just that opportunity to do so.” Allen has his sights set on a political science major, and he’s not ruling out the possibility of a double major to also include business.
What does it mean for someone who has played football since elementary school to have an opportunity to play in college? “It’s truly a blessing that God has given me,” says Allen. “I truly appreciate the opportunity to continue doing something I love, while getting a commendable education. I just am elated and thankful for the opportunity.”
“Great Representative of an Episcopal Student-Athlete”
As a four-year member of the Knights football team, Allen became the Team Captain and was a selection for the 2nd Team All-District team his senior year. However, football player is only part of Allen’s identity. “Allen has been a great representative of an Episcopal student-athlete,” says Head Coach Travis Bourgeois. “He competes in three sports and holds leadership roles in his senior class while maintaining a solid GPA. He has been a positive role model for our younger players to follow.” Allen is the Episcopal Student Body President, and he was crowned the 2020 Homecoming King. He is a Thesis student who is exploring the public perception of athlete activists, particularly Black athletes. He also finds time to help others as a math tutor, and he is involved with Episcopal’s diversity, equity and inclusion conversations and efforts. It’s an impressive resume for someone who is only just beginning to pursue his dreams.
It’s no accident that Allen will play football at the next level as he has given his all to everything he has done. He has this advice for classmates. “I would say for the students who hope to play at the next level: Work Hard, Do Your Best, and Compete as hard as you can. Although these sound like cliches, they hold a lot of truth and help anyone succeed not only in athletics but in everyday life. If you stick by these three advice pieces, there will be many schools wanting to embrace any athlete who does these things.”
We are certain that Rhodes will embrace Allen next fall. We are also certain that Allen will leave his mark on the school in just the same way he has done at Episcopal. Congratulations, Allen! Please join us in congratulating Allen in the comments section below.
Read more about other graduating Episcopal athletes moving on to compete at the next level by clicking the names below:
“It is so hard to get recruited in Louisiana because it is not a ‘hot bed’ for lacrosse and coaches gravitate to players from the northeast rather than a kid from Louisiana. So, it means so much that I can start being a trail blazer in Louisiana Lacrosse recruiting and start showing Louisiana has some ballers too.” Logan LeBlanc, Class of 2021
It’s not every day that a Louisiana athlete signs on to play lacrosse at the next level, but that is just what happened this week when Episcopal senior Logan LeBlanc made it official with Southwestern University. Southwestern is located in Georgetown, Texas, near Austin. Logan says there were multiple reasons for inking with the Pirates. “The first is it is a top class academic institution that will challenge me but also gives me so many opportunities to follow my major in the medical field,” he says. “Secondly, I loved the location of being right outside of Austin and the actual city of Georgetown being so pretty. Lastly, Coach Bowman was the first coach to ever recruit me. He was the first person to believe that I was a college player and that stuck with me.”
Opportunities to play lacrosse in Louisiana are not as common as other sports, but that didn’t impede Logan. He has been playing the sport for eight years after first competing for the local club youth team in Baton Rouge. “Once I hit high school, I started playing for the Dutchtown club lacrosse team but the past two years I switched over to the Chaos Lacrosse Club which is based in Mandeville,” he says. “Also, I played for FTK which is a select lacrosse team with the best players for Louisiana.” Logan credits FTK coach Shane Koppens with helping him garner the attention of college teams. “He put my name out there and put me in positions to make a name for myself,” says Logan. As a part of the national team, Logan also had the opportunity to play in the northern part of the country, which he says, “started putting Louisiana out there.”
Once he arrives in Texas, Logan plans to pursue a Pre-Med major. He is accustomed to juggling rigorous academics and a range of athletic involvement. “I also was an Episcopal Track and Cross-Country runner which helped me so much as a lacrosse player which also let me become a multiple cross country and indoor track state champion,” says Logan. “Coach Dupe shaped me into the player I am and showed me anything is possible.”
“Logan is an amazing person,” says Coach Dupe. “He came to me as a 7th grader and had one of the slowest times on our team. He never let this bother him. He just kept working hard each and every year and eventually became a member of our top 7 in cross country and also a huge contributor in track. I have used this example so many times with our younger runners.”
Logan’s determination and commitment are part of the advice he offers to classmates. “My advice is never give up on yourself,” he says. “Your biggest enemy is the person that stares back to you in the mirror. Always believe in yourself and there is nothing holding you back. You can do anything you put your mind to. Also, if it seems like it's hard right now I always like to say this ‘Remember there is always light at the end of the tunnel.’” From what Coach Dupe has witnessed, Logan is sure to be successful. “Logan was a great leader and captain,” he says. “He cares so much about the team. I would be willing to bet that he will eventually be a captain for his college Lacrosse team. He works very hard to be not only the best athlete he can be but the best person he can be as well.”
As Logan nears the end of his high school experience, he’s looking forward to the next chapter as a college athlete. We wish him well as he realizes his dream of playing lacrosse and making Louisiana proud. Congratulations, Logan!
Read more about other graduating Episcopal athletes moving on to compete at the next level by clicking the names below:
“I have dreamed of running at LSU and the fact that it is actually happening is crazy to me.” Callie Hardy, Class of 2021
Cross country champ Callie Hardy officially signed with the Tigers this week. As the pen moved across the page, it was the culmination of years of hard work and a commitment to a dream. “I came to Episcopal because I knew I wanted to run at the next level, and it is so cool to see it all finally come together,” says Callie. “I was blessed with the best coaches and teammates and I could not have done this without them. Being a part of the LSU track and cross country team has been a dream of mine for years.”
Callie first laced up her sneakers as a track athlete in seventh grade. A year later, she added cross country. Callie joined the Knights her junior year and has made tremendous contributions to the program since. During her senior year she was part of a team that broke cross country course records. She also earned the 2020 Individual LHSAA Cross Country State Champion title and was named a 2020 All Metro Cross Country First Team member.
Choosing LSU was an easy decision for Callie. “LSU was the right school for me because it is close to home and it has amazing academic programs in addition to its great running program,” she says. “Coach Franks has done an awesome job building up the distance program and I am so grateful to be able to say that I will be a part of it.” In addition to being a part of the team, Callie plans to study kinesiology.
Earning the opportunity to continue doing something you love on the collegiate level is a tremendous honor for any student athlete. Callie offers the following advice to those with a similar goal. “Always work as hard as you can and never give up on your dreams,” she says. “If you believe that you can do it, you’re already halfway there. Trust your coaches, they want what’s best for you. And always keep God first.” That is truly sound advice for anyone to adopt as they reach for their dreams.
Congratulations on taking this next step, Callie! The Episcopal community can’t wait to see you in purple and gold.
Read more about other graduating Episcopal athletes moving on to compete at the next level by clicking the names below:
Our winter sports season started fast and furious this year! Call it the delayed start of fall sports, the overlapping of fall and winter sports, or just the “other circumstances” surrounding all of us this year. No matter the circumstances, our Knights jumped right into the competitions!
As our winter sports teams get into state playoffs and championship meets, I am thankful for our student-athletes and coaches who always persevere at being their best possible selves, representing our teams and our school. While competing and winning is important to us here, watching these student-athletes develop into respectful young men and women is the thing that keeps our coaches and me fired up for more!
The winter sports season has provided Knights fans much to celebrate. Catch up on the latest sports news.
The girls soccer season has been one to remember. The squad fought hard to tie Parkview, a Division 3 team ranked number four. They also celebrated a successful Senior Knight with a win over rival Dunham 2 – 1 that also locked up the district championship title. The girls have a record of 10-4-3 with big wins against Ascension Episcopal and Pope John Paul. No doubt, it’s been a great year for seniors Landry Litel, Muskaan Mahes, Zoe Marceaux, Grace Moraes, Brooke Sandefur, Katherine Scarton and Allie Weinstein. Looking forward, Head Coach Lynn Bradley says. “it’s anyone’s game in the playoffs.”
The boys soccer team entered the playoffs seeded number six with a record of 12-6-4. That record includes big wins versus East Ascension, Baton Rouge High and Alexandria. Head Coach Kiran Booluck points out that the Knights earned a fourth consecutive district championship title in a season that saw them score 28 goals in four district games. The Knights won’t soon forget the Destrehan game where the team was down two goals and fought back to score two last minute goals to tie the game 2-2. This year’s team is led by seniors Cade Capron, Jack Safer, Ethan Webb and Josh Wilson.
Playing basketball during a pandemic can be challenging, but the Knights are battling through the obstacles to put together a successful season. Head Coach Chris Beckman says one of the highlights of the season is “just being able to play with COVID.” Episcopal is currently ranked 4th in the power rankings with a record of 14 and 7. The team has already earned impressive wins against Opelousas Catholic, St Joseph’s (MS), Parkview Baptist and Denham Springs. This year’s team is led by seniors Thomas Abadie, Jude Forti and Ben Stafford.
Saturday, February 6th at 10 am
Freshman team competes in the St. Thomas More Tournament
Monday, February 8th at 6 pm at home versus Family Christian Academy
Wednesday, February 10th at 5:30 pm at home versus St. John
The girls basketball team earned the 8-2A district championship title! The team hosted the district tournament as the number two ranked team in Division III. Head Coach Taylor Mims Wharton ’09 says the team hopes to make a deep playoff run into late February/early March. With big wins already against Parkview, Dominican, Scotlandville, Dunham, Denham Springs, Port Allen and Central, those playoff hopes are solid. The win against Dominican was the first victory for the Knights against the team in four years. Another season highlight was defeating 5A Scotlandville at Scotlandville. The Knights also bested Dunham at home and capped off Senior Knight with a victory against Baker. The Knights are led by seniors Annslee Bourgeois and Jewel Jones.
In addition to the upcoming tournament, the Knights will be in action on the following dates:
Tuesday, February 9th at 6 pm at home versus Madison Prep
Thursday, February 11th at 6 pm at home versus Family Christian Academy
The girls indoor track team opened the indoor season at the LSU Qualifier on January 30th. The team this year is led by seniors Callie Hardy (an LSU signee), Bethany Reid and Tanya Mencer. The team qualified very well for the upcoming state indoor meet. Athletes finishing in the top three at the meet were as follows : 2nd place 4 x 800 Relay team of Margaret Harrell, Bethany Reid, Ivy Jiang and Mia Pulliam. 1600 Meter Run Champion Callie Hardy. The team will be back in action again this week at the LSU Last Chance Meet.
Indoor track season is off and running. The Knights participated in one meet thus far with all competing Knights qualifying for the state indoor meet on Saturday, February 20th. Head Coach Claney Duplechin says the main competition at the state meet this year is St. Louis High School out of Lake Charles.
Episcopal is led by a talented group of seniors who are ready for the challenge including Tucker Harrell, Ethan Hook, Oliver Jack, Evan Jurkovic, Dylan Mehrotra, Ben Naquin, Payton Pontiff, Tristen Rigby, Jack Safer, Allen Stewart, Austin Sybrandt and Grant Treadaway.
Congratulations to Oliver Jack who has already earned a spot on the podium. Oliver finished second overall in the shot put.
This year, Episcopal is represented in powerlifting by 24 student athletes from every grade in Upper School. The Knights have a strong contingent of seniors including Thomas Audit, Matthew Bickham, Allison Binning, Nils Dernoncourt, Bronwyn Guy, William Griffey, Mollie Hyde, Oliver Jack, Dillon Kong, Addi LeBouef, Evan Meek, Alex Nelson, JC Neumann, Mary Jane Parker, Allen Stewart, Emma Schlotterer, Lily Wester and Anna Katherine Whaley.
The girls powerlifting team had a tremendous showing at the St. Amant Invitational. Results are below:
Allison Binning – 1st
Emma Schlotterer – 2nd
Bronwyn Guy – 2nd
Anna Katherine Whaley – 2nd
Lily Wester – 3rd
Claire Kiesel – 4th
The powerlifters are preparing for the following competitions:
Saturday, February 13th: The boys will have a dual meet vs Catholic High at Catholic.
Friday, February 26th – Saturday, February 27th: The team is preparing for the regional meet at Denham Springs High School.
Head coach Charlie O’Brien ’13 says the Knights are hoping for a chance to wrestle in the upcoming state tournament on February 26th and 27th in Baton Rouge. While the season has been unconventional due to COVID-19 protocols, the athletes are looking forward to competing. This year’s team is led by seniors Wes Coleman, who got a pin during the Brusly District 3 tournament, and William Guffey.
Episcopal’s Middle School soccer teams have much to celebrate after completing another successful season.
The boys team finished the season undefeated, defeating St. Jude and St. George to earn the Division 1 championship title in the end of the season tournament! Yaseen Zaid and Jacob Berg were the Episcopal scorers.
The girls gold team won the Division 3a championship, defeating West Feliciana 3 – 0. Anna Kurz scored once for the Knights and Hollis Spring scored twice.
The girls navy team finished the final tournament as the Division 1 Runners-Up! The Knights drew the championship game into a 1 – 1 tie but lost the penalty shootout 5 – 4. Claire Moore scored for Episcopal.
Prior to the final tournament, the Middle School teams also had success at the St. Michael the Archangel Holiday Cup Soccer Tournament. The boys and the girls navy teams won their divisions in that tournament with the girls gold team coming very close to reaching the final round. Thank you to the Episcopal Middle School soccer coaches including James Moroney, Phoebe Kantrow, Rhys Lopiparo, Paolo Messina and Eliott Reimann ’19.
The excitement generated by recent Middle School soccer victories highlights the importance of sports and school activities. The physical benefits of sports are widely known. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention includes weight management, reduced risk of disease, strengthening of bones and muscles, improvement of daily life skills and increased chances of living longer among the benefits of physical activity. In addition, CDC highlights important mental health benefits associated with regular physical activity: “Benefits include improved thinking or cognition for children 6 to 13 years of age and reduced short-term feelings of anxiety for adults. Regular physical activity can help keep your thinking, learning and judgement skills sharp as you age. It can also reduce your risk of depression and anxiety and help you sleep better.” In addition to the physical benefits, there are numerous other reasons that sports and student engagement are important.
As Middle School Division Head Mark Engstrom has said, “The truth about adolescence is that it’s hard. It’s just hard.” Being a part of a team, an ensemble or a group may help to ease the challenges of this time of transformation. Engstrom reflects on the positive impacts of team participation in his own life. “I was lucky enough in seventh grade to play for three different basketball teams and it changed my life in multiple ways,” he says. “I learned about the benefit of hard work, sacrificing for others, and the responsibility that comes with representing something larger than one’s self.”
Middle School Counselor Alicia Kelly says there is a connection between student involvement in school activities and student happiness and academic success. “I often see that our students perform better academically when they are engaged in a team sport,” she says. “This team commitment seems to keep them centered, with less time to procrastinate. The team sports also offer students the opportunity to form stronger connections and bonds with each other.” At a time when peer relationships are a priority, forming healthy connections are important for a student’s development.
Middle School introduces a range of new and varied opportunities for students to connect with others through sports, activities and clubs. Kelly says it’s the ideal time for students to explore. “You don’t know what your passion is until you try it,” she says. Knowing the importance of student engagement, faculty and administrators were happy to re-introduce Middle School clubs ranging from Peer Leaders to MATHCOUNTS earlier this school year. “Trying new activities, taking a risk, working on a new skill, and working with others are all traits that are beneficial for the rest of a child’s life,” says Engstrom.
Participating in school events also provides students the opportunity to connect through a shared representation of their school. For many young athletes, Middle School is the first time they put on a school jersey. Soccer coach and math teacher James Moroney says it is meaningful to put on that jersey and join your classmates as a team. “It gets the kids invested in the school,” he says. Moroney also points to the importance of family involvement. “What’s nice about Episcopal is it’s a community-based school.” At a school like Episcopal, which serves students in PreK-3 through 12th grade, sports, clubs and activities often provide the perfect backdrop for students and families to come together in support of one another.
While Middle School can be challenging, it is also a time of discovery and excitement as students broaden their experiences. This time of transition can help them build confidence, create valuable peer relationships, develop healthy lifestyle choices and become increasingly more independent. School activities can play a positive role in the overall student experience and pave the way for students to develop into the next generation of leaders.
The Middle School soccer teams had much to celebrate this holiday season with the boys team and the girls navy team winning the Middle School division of the St. Michael the Archangel Holiday Cup Soccer Tournament!
For the first time, the Holiday Cup Tournament featured middle school teams in addition to the high school teams. Episcopal’s Middle School was represented by one boys team and two girls teams. The teams, which were from across south Louisiana, battled through two games to reach the final seeded round. Coach and math teacher James Moroney is proud of what the Knights accomplished.
Let’s Hear it for the Boys!
The Episcopal boys finished the holiday tournament 3 and 0 with wins against Zachary, Most Blessed Sacrament and St. Jean Vianney. The following Episcopal athletes scored:
Philip Auzenne – 1 goal
Jacob Berg – 7 goals
David Olinde – 1 goal
Wynn Turner – 1 goal
Let’s Give the Girls a Hand!
The gold team finished the tournament 1 and 2 and came very close to earning a spot in the final round, which would have pitted them against their navy team classmates. Congratulations to the following competitors for scoring:
Anne Bradley Ewing – 2 goals
Olivia Graham – 1 goal
Virginia Kirkpatrick – 1 goal
Anna Kurz – 1 goal
Hollis Spring – 1 goal
The girls navy team shut out all competitors, finishing 3 and 0 with no goals scored by their opponents. Moroney says goalkeeper Maddie Teague had several nice saves during the tournament and throughout the season. The following athletes added to the navy team’s score tally:
Lucy Cramer – 1 goal
Molly Cramer – 2 goals
Claire Moore – 4 goals
Elizabeth Odom – 2 goals
Eloise Tharp – 1 goal
Grace Waguespack – 2 goals
Moroney points out that 11 different girls scored in the tournament between the two teams, highlighting how well the athletes work together on the field. He says the hard work of the defenders and midfielders often creates great opportunities for the goal scorers on the team.
These talented Middle School athletes are led by a group of dedicated coaches. Moroney is grateful to have Phoebe Kantrow, Rhys Lopiparo, Paolo Messina and Eliott Reimann coaching the boys and girls. With the Holiday Cup win wrapped up, the teams now turn their attention back to league play. The final regular season weekend is January 9th and 10th with the tournament scheduled for January 16th and 17th. Moroney hopes Knights fans will stop by the Burbank Soccer Complex to cheer on the teams.
Saturday, January 9th at 3 pm on Field 10
Sunday, January 10th at 10 am on Field 9
Sunday, January 10th at 1 pm on Field 10
Sunday, January 10th at 8:30 am on Field 03
Sunday, January 10th at 5 pm on Field 13
The Episcopal Middle School soccer teams have earned a reputation for being a talented and dedicated group of competitors. Read more about recent year’s success by clicking here and here.
“100% COMMITTED.” Episcopal football standout Austin Sybrandt made his plans clear on Twitter when he proclaimed his commitment to Tulane University. The defensive end made it official when he signed with the Green Wave before the Christmas break on National Signing Day.
After only two years of playing football, Austin had a huge impact on the field for the Knights, and the sports community took notice. The Baton Rouge Advocate highlighted Austin’s efforts in this November article - A defensive stance: DE Austin Sybrandt, other senior leaders help set tone for No. 5 Episcopal. In addition, Austin was the BRProud.com Recruit of the Week. Knights Head Coach Travis Bourgeois says Austin had a tremendous senior season earning the District Defensive Player of the Year Award. “He is one of the most explosive defensive players that I have coached,” says Coach Bourgeois. “He led by example with his work ethic on and off the field.”
Austin’s on-field success also earned the attention of college recruiters. Ultimately, he chose to continue his football career not far from the Knights home field at Tulane University in New Orleans. “Tulane is a great fit for me because it is the perfect balance of academics and athletics,” says Austin. “Not every D1 school is able to maintain such a high academic reputation. The coaches over there are great and the program is definitely something I am proud to be a part of.”
Life as a college athlete can be a challenge, but Austin is up for it. Athletic Director Randy Richard says Austin is a “stalwart in the weight room and an all-around hard worker in athletics and academics.” As an athlete, Austin recognizes the importance of hard work and encourages others to do the same. “Some advice I would offer to younger athletes or other students is that it is never too late to try something new as long as you are willing to put in the work if it is something that you are passionate about,” he says. Coach Bourgeois is confident that Austin is ready for the next level. “Having played only two seasons, he will continue to improve his skill and physically develop into a college athlete,” says Bourgeois. “I look forward to watching him progress in college on the field and in the classroom.”
At Episcopal, Austin is a multi-sport athlete who maintains a strong commitment to academics. College Counselor Shandi Fazely describes Austin as “goal-oriented, collaborative, driven and energetic” and says these qualities will serve him well as he transitions to Tulane. Once at Tulane, Austin says he plans to pursue a degree in finance.
Knights fans had much to cheer for this season with a district title and an appearance in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs. Now in the offseason, it is rewarding to see players like Austin earn the opportunity to continue their athletic journey. Join us in congratulating Austin on his success. Share a message with him in the comments section below.
In addition to Austin signing with Tulane, Episcopal celebrated Dylan Mehrotra signing with the University of Alabama at Birmingham. You can read more about Dylan’s commitment here.
Congratulations to these Episcopal All Metro athletes! 2020 Cross Country First Team: Callie Hardy and Scarlett Spender. Cross Country First Team Honorable Mention: Ivy Jiang, Mia Pulliam and Alex Hollier.
Congratulations to these Episcopal All Metro athletes! 2020 All Metro Swim Team: Eugene Jiang and Ben Naquin.
Congratulations to Episcopal’s 8-2A All District Football Team Honorees! Defensive MVP – Austin Sybrandt. Offensive MVP – Ryan Armwood. 1st Team: DL - Austin Sybrandt, LB – Oliver Jack, DB – Ethan Hook, P – Parker Sanchez, K – Parker Sanchez, OL – Bennett Gibson, OL – Adam Azmeh, WR – Peyton Pontiff, QB – Dylan Mehrotra and RB – Ryan Armwood. 2nd Team: OL – Val Rangelov, WR – Thomas D’Armond, RB – Oliver Jack, DL – Drew Sharp, LB – Allen Stewart and DB – David Cresson. Honorable Mention: Dylan Kong, Carson Duval, Ethan Carmouche, Tristan Rigby and Thomas Abadie.
District 8-2A Coach of the Year – Travis Bourgeois.
Sports have been a part of Episcopal head girls basketball coach and 2009 graduate Taylor Mims Wharton’s life for as long as she can remember. Her first athletic outing was playing tee-ball at three years old and even now she still remembers the experience and her teammates. The following year, at the age of four, Taylor dribbled a basketball for the first time as part of an organized team and she hit the pitch as a soccer player. With a dad for a coach, competing just seemed natural for young Taylor. As an only child, she also appreciated the camaraderie that existed with her teammates as they carpooled to practices and games and swapped stories about life in the same way sisters might do. Sports was a family affair from the very beginning, and it remains so to this day.
In seventh grade, Taylor earned a spot on the Episcopal varsity girls basketball team. In a basketball-themed scrapbook created by her proud mom, Kim, there are photos of Taylor in her varsity Episcopal uniform making her first appearance as an athlete on the LSU PMAC court. She was only 12 years old. In 2004 as a Middle School student, Taylor had already lettered in basketball, earning an Athletic Award signed by then head basketball coach Travis Bourgeois. Taylor’s success on the court continued with newspaper write-ups touting her performances. Then, on December 1st of her eighth grade year something quite unexpected occurred. During drills, Taylor pivoted in practice and heard a strange sound in her knee. After limping to the sideline and realizing that her knee didn’t feel right, Taylor made a visit to the team trainer. That sound turned out to be a torn ACL and meniscus. The injury required surgery and took Taylor out of the game she loved for eight long months. However, it gave her something even more meaningful and important than basketball.
“Basketball seemed to be everything but when it was taken away, I found my identity.”
As Taylor underwent surgery to repair her knee, her teammates and coaches rallied around her. Her parents, who have always been her number one fans, were by her side the entire way as she worked to strengthen her leg and get back to the game. As she spent time in bed resting her knee, Taylor devoted time to reading the Bible. She and her parents were faithful churchgoers, but during this downtime Taylor said she really “got it.” “I found my identity in Christ,” she says. “Basketball is something I love but it’s not who I am. I’m a Christian, that’s who I am.” For Taylor, an injury that hurt and took her out of the game actually brought her tremendous joy - the joy of discovering what she is made of and who she truly is. It is that joy and sense of tremendous faith that leads her in all of life’s adventures.
Those adventures included successfully competing in volleyball and softball in addition to her time on the basketball court. After graduating from Episcopal, Taylor played basketball for College of Charleston and Southeastern Louisiana University. In 2014, she returned to her high school alma mater to lead the Knights basketball program, and she has loved every minute of it.
“Eventually the basketball stops bouncing. Being a good person will last your entire life.”
As the girls basketball coach, Taylor shares life lessons with her athletes. She reminds them that there will be challenges in life, but they can and will overcome adversity. She says basketball teaches competitors to work hard, to bounce back and how to fail. She also stresses the importance of respecting your opponents, the officials and the opposing coaches. “Do your best,” she says. “Do it the right way.”
Part of doing things the right way means staying humble and caring for others in meaningful ways. Each year, Taylor and her team of Knights participate in community service efforts together. The team has assisted with food drives and helped with Christmas toy drives. Last school year, they even made it a point to cheer on the Lower School girls basketball team. In addition, the Knights host weekly Bible study sessions with the seniors choosing the topics and leading the discussion.
Taylor is assisted in her coaching efforts by her dad Raymond, who taught her a lot of what she puts into practice. Raymond is a former college athlete and has coached for more than 30 years. Taylor says it’s important to have a great assistant that you can trust and rely on to tell you the truth. Not surprisingly, Taylor says the two have the same basketball mindset with a passion for the defensive aspects of the game. During the season, the two spend six of seven days of the week together, and Taylor wouldn’t want it any other way. “It’s fun working with my dad,” she says.
When they aren’t coaching the Knights, Taylor and her family can often be found watching sports together. As you might imagine, the occasion is lively with so many athletic-minded fans in the same room. “We’re always talking to the TV,” says Taylor. “It’s hard to watch without dissecting each play.” This year, there’s an additional voice in the room as Taylor’s husband, Alex, has joined in on the action. Taylor and Alex were married earlier this year. The original spring wedding ceremony included a guest list of 300. In the midst of the pandemic, that list quickly had to be trimmed to 12. However, looking back Taylor says the experience was great. “We made the best out of it,” she says with a smile. In true 2020 style, the Episcopal coaches and players organized a car parade in Taylor and Alex’s cul-de-sac which is certainly something that won’t soon be forgotten.
Taylor is still learning and growing. This summer, she began working toward a doctorate in leadership studies with a concentration in athletic administration. Taylor gives her mom a lot of credit for her academic success, saying mom kept her focused on her studies even when Taylor was only thinking about the hardwood. She also credits Episcopal with her academic success saying college was a breeze after her experience as a Knight. She says as an adult she now appreciates that her parents enrolled her in Episcopal as a kindergartener. “They sacrificed a lot for me to be here with their time and finances,” she says. That commitment paid off. “The whole experience here shaped me,” says Taylor. “I would not trade a moment of it.”
The Episcopal community has long been a fan of Taylor. As a student, she was a recipient of the Webster Cup and Annslee Laura Phillips Female Athlete of the Year Award. As a coach and teacher, she continues to make tremendous contributions to the school’s athletics program and the students she mentors. Join us in thanking her for the difference she makes.