Quentin Taylor and Haley Bright both are looking forward to their first stints as a varsity head coach.

Taylor has been named girls basketball coach at Whitehall-Yearling High School, replacing Darin Green, while Bright has been selected to replace Danielle Jackson as the Rams’ girls volleyball coach.

Taylor, 36, served as freshman boys basketball coach at Whitehall the past three seasons. He previously was the boys coach at Johnson Park Middle School in Columbus for four years from 2012-16 and has coached at the AAU level the last five years.

Taylor takes over a Whitehall program that went 1-22 in Green’s first season in 2017-18 before finishing 14-10 last winter.

“When the job opened, coach Green and (athletics director Bill) Hughett reached out to me, expressing that the job was vacant,” Taylor said. “They were brainstorming to find a replacement because the girls did pretty well last year and they wanted somebody who knew the system and knew the girls and somebody they had confidence in.

“I want to continue to do what coach Green was doing and continue to turn the program around.”

Taylor, a 2001 graduate of Independence and a 2006 graduate of Ohio State, served as a volunteer assistant for the Brookhaven boys team under coach Bruce Howard during the 2002-03 season. After Howard died of liver failure in April 2003, Taylor decided to take a break from basketball.

Whitehall boys coach Drew Williams, a former assistant under Howard who served as interim coach at Brookhaven when Howard was hospitalized in January 2003, took over the Rams’ program in 2013 and hired Taylor in 2016.

“I didn’t take the (girls) job without coach Williams’ blessing,” Taylor said. “Coach Williams is the reason why I’m in the Whitehall City Schools District coaching. Coach Williams is a big mentor and somebody who I have the utmost respect for. He told me it would be a good job for me and I would do very well with the girls.

“Once coach Williams gave me that blessing on top of my wife’s (Ashlee) blessing, that’s when I felt it was for me to take.”

Bright, 21, is a 2016 graduate of Liberty Union where she played volleyball and a 2019 graduate of Columbus State. She served as coach at Liberty Union Middle School the past two seasons and recently completed her second year as a coach with Eastside Volleyball Club located in Lithopolis.

“(Hughett) called me about it because he heard from some Eastside players that they wanted me to coach there,” Bright said. “I had never talked to him before. I was very interested right away.”

Since being hired, Bright has met with players during open gyms.

“I’m so excited for this,” she said. “We’ve had close to 40 girls show up to open gyms. It’s been interesting because I wasn’t expecting that big of a turnout and the girls who showed up were so motivated and willing to learn from me. That was awesome. I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls.”

Jackson coached Whitehall for 10 seasons. Last fall, the Rams finished 2-18 overall and 1-7 in the MSL-Ohio Division.

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

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