We’ve already talked about one of Megan Duffy’s hires to fill her two vacant assistant coach positions on the Marquette women’s basketball staff as I accidentally noticed that Kelly Komara had been added to the roster page. Given that there was no press release to go with Komara’s addition to the roster page, I presumed that it was only a matter of time before a press release made its way out into the public talking about both of Duffy’s new hires.
And, yes, I was right.
On Wednesday, MU announced that Duffy had hired both Komara and Tasha Taylor as new assistant coaches on the staff. Since we already talked about Komara’s background, it’s time to dive into what we know about Taylor!
First, Duffy’s official statement on both women:
“Our Marquette family continues to grow with the exciting additions of Kelly Komara and Tasha Taylor,” Duffy said. ”They will be incredible assets to our program because of their work ethic, experience and winning mentality. Both coaches have been in these players shoes and know what it takes to be successful at a high level, and I have so much respect for who they are as leaders, mentors and teachers. Kelly and Tasha will continue to raise the bar here at Marquette on the national scene.”
And here’s Taylor’s statement on her new job:
“I am ecsatic about having the opportunity to work for a rising star in our women’s game,” Taylor said. “Coach Duffy displays impeccable character, passion and knowledge of the game. On top of that, Marquette is a highly-rated university with a championship culture. I am eager to join a hard-working staff as we work for continued success.”
Taylor has been working her way up in the basketball coaching world since 2009. She got her start as an assistant at Division 2 Lees-McRae College straight out of college, and worked there until 2012. Her next stop was at Limestone College, a Division 2 program in South Carolina. The Saints won back-to-back conference titles in her two years there, as well as two NCAA Sweet 16 appearances and an Elite Eight in her second campaign.
That moved Taylor along to Elon, which is where she’s been working since 2014. In her seven seasons with the Phoenix, they played in the postseason four times including two NCAA tournament appearances in 2017 and 2018.
Before entering the coaching ranks, Taylor was a four-year starter at Clemson. That does mean that Marquette has gone from one Clemson grad assistant on the staff in Itoro Coleman to another, but Taylor is 10 years younger than Coleman. Also, in case you were starting to put pieces together in your head, Coleman was hired as Clemson’s head coach just one year too late to be Taylor’s coach. Anyway, as a Tiger, Taylor had an outstanding career. She is fourth all-time in assists in program history and was team Defensive Player of the Year in 2006.
It has to be pointed out that Marquette’s official coaching staff — the head coach and three assistant coaches — all had superb collegiate playing careers. I don’t know if or even how that translates to coaching, but the fact of the matter is that Duffy, Komara, Taylor, and Justine Raterman have all been through the same kinds of things as their players in the past.
It’s also worth noting that Marquette has four women in the on-the-court coaching positions. Duffy is one of just three women who have a head coaching spot in the Big East along side Denise Dixon at Villanova and Melanie Moore at Xavier. Both Dixon and Moore have a male assistant on their staffs, so Duffy’s trio of assistants makes Marquette unique in the Big East with an all-femal staff. In fact, only Connecticut, Creighton, and DePaul have three women in the assistant coaching positions, although we have to acknowledge that Providence currently only lists two assistants and both are women.
Heck, I think it’s kind of neat that even MU’s Director of Basketball Operations is a woman, and everyone listed on the roster page under “Women’s Basketball Support Staff” is a woman. Phillip Leibham (Director of Video and Analytics) and Devin Perez (Director of Player Development) are the only two men on the roster in any capacity, and Liebham is actually a carry-over from the Carolyn Kieger era and he might be more of a Marquette employee than a Duffy employee, if that makes sense.
And so, the staff is now set in place once again, and not a moment too soon. The summer recruiting schedule is about to kick off and the Golden Eagles are looking at as many as three open spots to fill in the 2022 recruiting class to join Emily La Chapell. Marquette is projected to have 12 women on the roster for the 2022-23 season, and that doesn’t include the possibility of Chloe Marotta returning for her COVID bonus year. Still, with four seniors and five juniors on the roster, it would probably be in MU’s best interest to get a few more players in the Class of 2022 just to keep things stocked up and ready to go when 2024 rolls around.