On January 24, 2002 William "Bill" Taylor died in Anacortes. He was one of Anacortes's most successful basketball coaches. He also was a positive influence in so many young men's lives, including mine. He was a great coach and mentor to me. I've published a full account of my high school relationship to this great coach and his profound influence in my life: https://www.paulluverajournalonline.com/weblog/2013/01/william-taylor.html . In addition, I published a background of this unique man who was so important in guiding my life. https://www.paulluverajournalonline.com/weblog/2014/01/bill-taylor-anacortes-high-school-basketball-coach.html
William H. Taylor was born March 11, 1922. He was 79 years of age when he died. He was a great natural athlete who played baseball and basketball for the University of Washington He graduated from the University of Washington in 1949. He flew fighters in the Navy and eventually became my high school basketball and baseball coach in Anacortes.
(That's me, number 88, in the photograph)
Basketball really took over in Anacortes when Richard "Boots" Wooten arrrived. He had coached winning teams at Walla Walla, Sequim, Mt Rainier and Anacortes. He started the tradition of basketball madness in Anacortes. With Boots as the coach basketball became a town obsession by producing winning teams that went to State Tournaments. The town became basketball enthusiastic very much like the one portrayed in the movie Hoosiers about a high school team in Indiana and the town's devotion to basketball. In fact, our small gym filled to overflowing with spectators standing along the out of bounds line. The town emptied when the team played away and there was a parade of cars following the team bus to the out of town games. The town lived basketball. Bill Taylor became the new coach after Boots left. He had big shoes to fill and carried on the tradition of winning teams. As portrayed in the movie Bill had fans tried to tell him how to coach and, as in the movie, he had to close practice to their watching. But, he was a great coach.
His high school teams won 212 games and lost only 56 during his coaching from 1946 to 1960. Taylor’s teams went to the state tournaments. Two years in a row his teams made appearances at the Washington State Basketball tournament and both were against Lincoln of Seattle. The second year both teams were undefeated and the game was watched by the largest crowd in the history of Heck Edmundson Pavilion with 3,000 people shut out wanting to get inside. Anacortes lost both years to Lincoln, but the Anacortes fans turned out in force to welcome them home anyway. His record of winning was so good he was named to the High School Basketball Hall of Fame. He also was an outstanding baseball coach at Anacortes. He had been a great baseball player at the University of Washington He also was the moderator of the Anacortes highschool Key Club. Bill taught the students honesty, civility and character and set the example by his personal conduct.
My life story involves an encounter with man of high principle who encouraged me in the right direction at a significant time in my life resulting in my life turning in the right direction at a critical time. The noon Kiwanis Club of Anacortes administers a scholarship program in Bill Taylor's honor every year. His contributions live on. This is in honor of William H. Taylor, great coach, mentor to me and many other young men and a man of great character. I will always owe a debt to Bill for his positive influence on my life at a critical time.