It was a tough decision, but when Darius Taylor thought about what he’s been a part of building and what he was about to start constructing, it made it easy.
“It’s hard to start a marriage off separated,” South Carolina’s former assistant coach said on Saturday, a day after it was announced that he was resigning his post. “Those first couple of years are the ones that are really important, where you build your relationship and trust.
“My fiancee being at Georgia, we’ve been able to make it work. We saw each other almost once a week. I knew that there could be some changes to give her an opportunity, and it’s the right decision.”
Taylor will marry Joni Crenshaw on Aug. 1 and is in the process of moving to Athens, Ga., to be with her. Crenshaw was promoted to head coach at Georgia after Andy Landers retired, and since the state of Georgia has nepotism laws that prohibit Taylor from joining Crenshaw’s staff, he knew if he stayed at USC it was going to be exceptionally difficult.
Although only three hours away, Crenshaw’s duties would become much heavier and Taylor would still have his regular duties, plus the added pressure of sustaining what’s become a Final Four program. He didn’t want to start his marriage off by seeing his wife once every couple of weeks.
“It was a tough decision, doing what we did this year,” Taylor said. “Being that close to the national championship and looking what we’re bringing back, it was hard. But when she got the position, I knew it would be different.”
Taylor wants to stay around the game in whatever role he can, but is also exploring other options. He’s been approached as a potential scout, and may try to start developing himself as a personal trainer, but as the news spreads about his free agency, he’ll look at any opportunity.
He’ll miss USC and the program he helped raise since he was hired in 2010. But he’ll see the Gamecocks and some of his former players when they play the Lady Bulldogs, and he’ll be within driving distance of Columbia.
He may not be able to wear as much garnet as he used to, but he’ll still keep it.
“We’re still kind of figuring things out,” Taylor said. “But I’ll always love South Carolina and I deeply appreciate the opportunity Dawn Staley gave me.”
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