THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Lawrence Academy’s Taylor resigns

By Bob Holmes
Globe Staff / February 9, 2011

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Lawrence Academy football coach Mike Taylor resigned last week, ending a tenure of incredible success and controversy at the Groton school.

Taylor informed headmaster Scott Wiggins of his decision Friday, ending his tenure after three seasons of leading one of the best teams in the New England Prep School Athletic Conference.

“It was a fantastic experience,’’ Taylor said.

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,’’ Taylor said. “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.’’

Although the Spartans went 8-0 in the regular season and won their second straight Independent School League 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.

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 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.’’

Bob Holmes can be reached at rholmes@globe.com.