Taylor announced as Cardinal BB head coach

After 5 season with Patriot League school Lehigh, Billy Taylor takes over as Ball State's 18th head coach.

The search to replace the vacated Ball State men's basketball job finally ended Wednesday as the Cardinals announced Billy Taylor to take over the reigns of the once mighty program.

Taylor comes to Ball State after 5 successful seasons at Lehigh. Taylor was named Patriot League coach of the year twice, lead Lehigh to its first NCAA tournament appearance and also its first regular season Patriot League title in 2003-04.

Taylor announced during the press conference that he was drawn to Ball State thanks in part to a "great history" in which he referenced such sucessful former Cardinal coaches as Rick Majerus (current St. Louis head coach) and Ray McCallum (current Indiana assistant).

Taylor's late hire means a lot of catching up, but it is something the coach says he is ready for.

"We have a lot of work to do," Taylor said. "We have to go back and look at the films, see what our strenghs and weaknesses were from last year, what we need to improve upon, figure out what our team identity is going to be."

One of the prerequistes Ball State athletic director Tom Collins looked for in the search for Ball State's head coach, was not only previous head coaching experience, but the coaches knowledge of the state of Indiana and his willingness to recruit that area. Both of these are strengths in Taylor, who played at Notre Dame and also hails from close by West Aurora, IL.

"There is so much talent here in the state of Indiana," Taylor said. "Indiana is a talent-rich state for basketball. I'm excited to be here and have the opportunity to recruit in-state here and attract that local talent that can put our program in a position to be successful in the future.

Taylor also preached about his defensive style and his desire for his teams to be prepared and calm down the stretch of games. With regards to defense, Taylor will instill and tough, half-court philosophy that may remind fans of Dick Hunsacker era-Cardinal basketball.

"We want to hold teams to 60 points. If we score 80, that's great." he said. "If we score 61, that's great."

Ball State, who was forced to replace former coach Ronny Thompson who resigned July 12th after one season at the Muncie, IN school amid secondary rules violations commited twice during his tenure, an investigation into even more rules being broken by him and his staff and claims of racism by Thompson who had notes left in his and his assistants' offices after the second round of violations were announced.

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