Taylor-Made Success: The Secret Life of an American History Teacher

Behind the easy going demeanor of history teacher and varsity boys soccer coach William Taylor is an intense drive for his players and students to succeed.

Since arriving at Rio in the late-1990s, Taylor has earned a reputation as a committed teacher. His Honors World History and American History course (which he team teaches with English teacher Jolynn Mason) are highly popular despite high standards and a rigorous curriculum.

Taylor has achieved even more success in other aspects of his life.

Throughout his adolescence and early adulthood Taylor played sports. He competed in soccer, water polo, and basketball, but it was not until high school that he realized his true potential.

Focusing on water polo at XXXXX High School, Taylor became an All-American.

“I loved to compete,” Taylor said.

Soon after beginning his teaching career at Rio, Taylor took the job as head coach of the boys water polo team.

In his early years as coach Taylor was, in his own words, “competitive and intense,” allowing the desire to win and to run a well-disciplined team to diminish the fun of the sport.

His hard work paid off with a section championship in 2003.

It was not until he and his wife, Arden Middle School eighth grade English teacher, Ms. Ocken-Taylor, had two kids of their own that Taylor said he finally mellowed out.

“I grew to appreciate having high expectations as well as perceiving the reality,” he said. “I realized it’s about just letting them play, while giving occasional help, so that’s what I did.”

Although Taylor quit coaching water polo xxxxxxxx, he returned to the sidelines a few years later. For xxxxx years, he was assistant coach of the girls soccer team, helping to guide the team to national rankings and section title. HOW MANY.

This year, he took over as head coach of the boys varsity soccer team. The team is off to an impressive start, having beaten defending Division 2 champions Bella Vista 2-1 and tied No. 4 team in the nation Jesuit 2-2 in the past week.

The philosophy of “just letting them play” has found its way into Taylor’s current coaching style, in the form of a system. Taylor advises at games, but saves the coaching for practice.

“At games I want the players to figure stuff out on their own,” said Taylor.

Though Taylor has accomplished a lot on his own accord, he owes all his inspiration to one man, “Coach” Feaver. While a Long Beach State water polo player, Taylor deemed “Coach” Feaver (Taylor, to this very day, still calls him coach) to be the perfect coach, so much so he aspires to be like him.

Taylor said, “He instilled this desire to work harder.” Like coach, like player, Taylor has succeeded in instilling such a desire in both his teaching and coaching careers, pushing his history students and soccer players to work harder.

Just think, Mr. Taylor could be the next Coach Feaver, or maybe, he already is.