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BILLY TAYLOR NAMED BELMONT ABBEY MEN'S BASKETBALL COACH

/EIN News/ -- BELMONT, N.C., May 10, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Belmont Abbey College announced today that Billy Taylor has been named head men's basketball coach. Taylor, who brings 11 years of NCAA Division I head coaching experience to the College, is the 16th leader of the men's basketball program and its first ever African-American head coach. A University of Notre Dame graduate and former Irish player, Taylor has served as head coach both at Ball State University and at Lehigh University.

"With the addition of Coach Taylor to our staff, we not only have identified and successfully recruited a leader of young men with a proven track-record, we have achieved our objective of enhancing the culture within our department and the College as a whole," said Athletic Director Stephen Miss. "Billy shares our convictions, is a deeply committed teacher, mentor, and coach, and will play a pivotal and very positive role in the formation and development of the young men under his charge.  We are excited to welcome Coach Taylor, his wife, Avlon, and their three children, Tamia, Gavielle, and Savion, to our ever-improving Belmont Abbey College community."

"I am thrilled to receive the appointment as the new head men's basketball coach at Belmont Abbey College," Taylor said.  "I want to thank Abbot Placid, President Thierfelder, Athletic Director Stephen Miss, and all the members of the search committee for selecting me as the new leader of our basketball program.  Belmont Abbey has a rich tradition of basketball and academic success which I am now proud to be a part of.  In my career, I have been blessed with some amazing opportunities to work with talented student-athletes and faithful administrators.  I look forward to mentoring our student-athletes to be leaders on the basketball court, in the classroom, and in the community.

Taylor most recently worked with Coach Fran McCaffrey for three years at the University of Iowa as Director of Basketball Operations.  He coordinated travel and arranged the day-to-day activities of the Hawkeye's men's basketball program.  During all three seasons of Taylor's tenure at Iowa the program earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament, produced a first-team All-Big Ten member, and had a Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree.

Taylor arrived at Iowa after serving as head men's basketball coach at Ball State University for six years (2007-13).  Under Taylor the Cardinals finished first or second in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) West Division three times and advanced to the MAC Tournament semifinals twice.  The team produced nine All-Conference selections and had MAC All-Freshman Team honorees in five consecutive seasons.  Taylor also coached a Lowe's Senior CLASS Award Finalist and John Wooden Citizenship Cup National Finalist.

Prior to his time at Ball State, Taylor enjoyed a successful five-year run as head men's basketball coach at Lehigh University (2002-07).  He was a two-time Patriot League Coach of the Year and led the Mountain Hawks to the NCAA Tournament after winning the regular season and tournament championships in 2003-04.  Taylor coached a Patriot League Player of the Year and Associated Press All-American, five All-Patriot League selections, and two All-Rookie team selections.

Taylor was the top assistant coach to McCaffrey at UNC-Greensboro for three years (1999-2002) before moving to Lehigh.  The team earned a Southern Conference Championship and made the NCAA Tournament in 2000-01 and earned a NIT bid in 2001-02.  He got his start in coaching as an assistant at the University of Notre Dame in 1998-99.

Recruited by Digger Phelps, Taylor started 79 of 112 games as a player for John MacLeod at Notre Dame.  He was a four-year letterman, team captain as a senior, and graduated with a degree in business administration and computer application in 1995.  Taylor earned his CPA in 1998 while working for Arthur Andersen.  Originally from Chicago, Taylor will settle in the area with his wife and family, and begins full-time with the Abbey immediately.

Founded in 1876, Belmont Abbey College is a private, Catholic, baccalaureate and liberal arts institution. Our mission is to educate students in the liberal arts and sciences so that in all things God may be glorified. Guided by the Catholic intellectual tradition and the Benedictine spirit of prayer and learning, we welcome a diverse body of students and provide them with an education that will enable them to lead lives of integrity, to succeed professionally, to become responsible citizens, and to be a blessing to themselves and to others. Our beautiful and historic campus is conveniently located just 10 miles west of Charlotte, N.C., and is currently home to more than 1500 students.  For more information, visit www.belmontabbeycollege.edu or www.abbeyathletics.com.

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A photo accompanying this release is available at: http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=40196

CONTACT: For more information contact:
         Rolando Rivas
         Director of Marketing & Communications
         704-898-3084
         rolandorivas@bac.edu

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