Lawrence Academy football coach Mike Taylor has resigned, ending a tenure of incredible success and controversy at the Groton school.
Taylor spoke with headmaster Scott Wiggins Friday and ended three seasons leading one of the best football teams in the New England Prep School Athletic Conference.
"It was a fantastic experience,’’ said Taylor in confirming his decision.
But he said yesterday the move wasn't to get away from the storm that seemed to follow his team.
"It had nothing to do with it. I think [BB&N coach John] Papas had the same thing a few years ago. It wasn’t normal for us in the sense of the forfeit. If it wasn't for the forfeit I don’t think it would have been bad.
"I'm getting busy with work, doing work overseas. At end of the day I'm not going to knock the school or things that happened last fall."
While the Spartans went 8-0 in the regular season and won their second straight ISL title, the success created problems. In October St.George’s forfeited its game with Lawrence Academy, citing safety concerns. The forfeit made national news and was mentioned by everyone from Jay Leno to Frank Deford on Sports Illustrated's website.
As Lawrence Academy rolled through its regular season schedule, the focus wasn't on a great season put together by talented students but of a school that had to be doing something wrong in order to achieve that success.
In a November story in the Globe, Taylor said the level of scrutiny and criticism his players were taking is what bothered him most.
"That’s the worst part of this whole thing," said Taylor. "The kids feel that the whole world is talking about them behind their backs. They’re walking off a football field and hear some parents or people in the crowd say, ‘Hey, are you 25? How many kids you got?' "
The season ended with a 24-21 loss to Salisbury in a NEPSAC postseason bowl.
"I love the kids. I love the sport," said Taylor. "It's a year-round process to run a good program. The kids are the main thing."
And seven of those kids accepted Division 1 college scholarships last week: Marcus Grant (Iowa), Michael Orloff (UCLA), Anthony Knight (Nevada), Max Ricci (Boston College), Clay Horne (Villanova), Ryan Welch (New Hampshire); and Dan Giovacchini (Brown).
"To me that’s the Pulitzer Prize,’’ said Taylor. "I'd give up every win for a scholarship. I think that’s a great thing. Maybe my priorities are wrong."
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our fall correspondents:
- Anthony Gulizia | @gulizia_a | Div. 1 football
- Eric Russo | @erusso22 | Div. 2 football
- Stephen Sellner | @stephen_sellner | Div. 3 football
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Div. 4 football
- Greg Joyce | @GJoyce9 | Div. 5 football
- Lorenzo Recupero | @LorenzoRecupero | Div. 6 football
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls volleyball
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