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Clarion Native, IUP Graduate Taylor Named Canadian Elite Basketball League Coach of the Year

Photo courtesy of the Winnipeg Sea Bears

PITT MEADOWS, British Columbia – Clarion native Mike Taylor was named the Canadian Elite Basketball League Coach of the Year Wednesday, Aug. 10, after guiding the expansion Winnipeg Sea Bears into the CEBL playoffs in their inaugural year.

Taylor, also the team’s general manager, led Winnipeg to a 12-8 record and second place in the Western Division. The Sea Bears had entered the season with the third worst odds of making the playoffs by the league’s sports betting partner, BetVictor.

With 12 wins, Winnipeg tied the Scarborough Shooting Stars’ 2022 season for the best record ever by an expansion team. In Taylor’s hands, the Sea Bears boasted one of the league’s most potent offences en route to a second-place finish in the CEBL’s new Western Conference.

“These awards come as a result of a fantastic team effort,” said Taylor on the honors received by him and his team. “Something special happened in Winnipeg this summer. From David Asper’s vision, to Jason Smith and everyone in the front office, to our outstanding coaching staff, to all of our players and our fantastic Sea Bears fans who fell in love with the team.”

In addition to building and coaching a winning roster, Taylor made community involvement a core principle of his team. The Sea Bears offered five days of free youth basketball programming led by coaches and players as part of their Sea Bears Summer Series of programs. Taylor’s players made opportunities to give back to the community part of their daily routine, regularly appearing at cultural fairs, local businesses and for youth organizations like BGC Winnipeg. Taylor’s staff also hosted a free coaching clinic to help educate and develop the city’s up-and-coming local coaches.


“I’m so proud of everyone and thankful for everything,” Taylor said. “The CEBL is so much fun, and we are showing everyone what a special place Winnipeg can be.”

“Coach Taylor came into a new organization and established a winning mentality instantly,” said Sea Bears president Jason Smith. “His emphasis on togetherness and loyalty shone through every facet of Sea Bears basketball and helped to guide our organization in its formative days. His ability to prepare, manage and execute laid the foundation for this team and the successes we saw this first season, and we thank him for all his hard work and dedication.”

After leading the then-Fraser Valley Bandits in his first Canadian campaign last year, Taylor was drawn to helm the newly minted Sea Bears by the opportunity to serve as both head coach and general manager. Drawing on nearly 30 years of coaching experience in the NCAA, Europe and NBA G League, Taylor built the Sea

Taylor is a 1990 graduate of Clarion High School and a 1995 graduate of IUP. He is the son of former Clarion University and Lock Haven University head coach Dick Taylor, who also taught at Clarion. He played high school basketball at Clarion High for Tom Lewis and football for Larry Wiser then went on to play college basketball at IUP where he was a member of the Indians 1995 NCAA Division II semifinal team, the same team that won both the PSAC and PSAC West titles.

Taylor, who got his coaching career stated as the graduate assistant coach for Ron Righter at Clarion University in 1996, has coached extensively in the international and pro ranks and the Polish National Team head coach from 2014-2021.


Mike Taylor’s Coaching Resume

1995-96: Clarion Golden Eagles (Graduate Assistant)
1997-00: IUP Indians (Assistant Coach)
2001: Pittsburg St. Gorillas (Assistant Coach)
2002: Chemnitz 99ers (Germany 3rd Division) (Head coach)
2002: Dodge City Legends (United States Basketball League) (Head coach)
2003: DG Essex Leopards (British Basketball League) (Head coach)
2003-11: Ratiopharm Ulm (Germany 2nd Division 2003-05; Germany Bundesliga – Germany 1st Division 2006-11) (Head coach)
2004-05: Kansas Cagerz (United States Basketball League (Head Coach)
2010-13: Czech Republic National Team (Assistant coach in the summer)
2012: Rio Grande Valley Vipers (NBA D-League) (Assistant Coach for Nick Nurse)
2013-14: Main Red Claws (NBA D-League) (Head coach) (Named all-star game head coach)
2014-21: Polish National Team (Head coach)
2018: Team Fredette (TBAT 2018) (Head coach)
2019-2020: Hamburg Towers (Germany Bundesliga – German 1st Division) (Head Coach)
2022: Fraser Valley Bandits (Canadian Elite Basketball League) (Head Coach)
2022-present: Winnipeg Sea Bears (Canadian Elite Basketball League (Head Coach/General Manager)
Assistant for the Czech Republic national team in summers of 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013


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