CCSD Celebrates 2023 Coach of the Year
The Cherokee County School District today announced its Coach of the Year!
River Ridge High School girls basketball Coach Jason Taylor, who led the team to the program’s first-ever state championship win this season, was surprised with the news by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower.
“Congratulations to Coach Taylor on this well-earned honor – earned not only at the state championships, but every day of the past 14 years of his excellent service as a coach and AP and honors history teacher for River Ridge,” Dr. Hightower said. “Jason built the Lady Knights program from the ground up and, through his leadership, it has risen to best in the state. The letters of support for his nomination, from students, parents, fellow coaches and teachers, administrators, tell the story of a coach who empowers, leads, trusts and cares deeply for his student athletes. We’re so proud of you and your success!”
Coach Taylor, who was selected by a panel of outside judges with significant coaching and athletic director experience, received a one-year free lease on the vehicle of his choice from Shottenkirk Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Canton as well as a $6,000 BSN Sports credit for sportswear and equipment. The awards program begins with the selection of a top coach for each CCSD Innovation Zone (high school and feeder schools), and those coaches then are considered for the CCSD honor. The judges select the CCSD winner based on outstanding leadership, tradition of excellence and contributions to overall school culture and community.
Joining in the surprise presentation were Chief Operations Officer Dr. Debra Murdock, Supervisor of Student Athletics and Activities Tonya Sebring, River Ridge HS Principal Todd Miller and Assistant Principal/Athletic Director David Dyer, Shottenkirk Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram General Manager David Booth and Coach Taylor’s wife, Adrienne, who is a math teacher at River Ridge.
“Coach Taylor has built a culture of winning here at River Ridge based on encouraging his athletes in the face of adversity,” Principal Miller said. “He builds confidence, self-esteem and a growth mindset.”
Under Coach Taylor’s leadership, the Lady Knights have won the region for the past three seasons, advancing to the Elite 8 in 2021-22 and the Final 4 in 2020-21. Coach Tyler was honored with the Region 6 AAAAAA Coach of the Year title for the past season and, for the previous two seasons, earned the title for Region 7 AAAAAA. Overall, the Lady Knights have won five region titles and made 10 state tournament appearances. In addition to coaching girls basketball since 2009, he also has served as head coach for girls and boys cross-country and boys track and as an assistant football coach during his tenure at River Ridge. He previously coached basketball, cross-country and track at Woodstock HS.
In his Coach of the Year nominee letter, Coach Taylor wrote about how the program grew from its inaugural year to state champions and credited the program’s culture.
“What is the culture of River Ridge Lady Knights Basketball? Simply put, we are a family,” he said. “We treat each member of our family with love, fairness, honesty and respect.”
The Innovation Zone Coach of the Year winners, who each received a $1,000 BSN credit, are:
Cherokee: Joe Veihman, boys basketball
Creekview: Kirk Scharich, track and cross-country
Etowah: Jason Dasinger, boys basketball
Sequoyah: John Edwards, volleyball
Woodstock: Helen Lane, cheerleading