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A college sports blog from The Oakland Press, dedicated to covering Michigan and Michigan State athletics as well as former Oakland County athletes at other schools.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Former OU coach Bob Taylor replaced at Northwood

It kind of flew under the radar — granted most NCAA Division II transactions do, on the whole — when Northwood University in Midland decided last month not to renew the contract of men's basketball coach Bob Taylor, who had led the Timberwolves program for 13 seasons. I noticed it recently, because I used to cover his teams.

Fans in this area may remember Taylor as the man that led the Oakland University women's program for its final decade (1986-87 season to 1996-97) in Division II, winning four titles in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The immediate predecessor to current OU coach Beckie Francis, Taylor left the program when the decision was made to jump from Division II to Division I, and he left as the program's winningest coach (251-72 record).

As the men's coach at Northwood, Taylor finished as the second-winningest coach in the history of the men's program (169-183) at the small private school. But a sixth-straight losing season forced Timberwolves AD Pat Riepma to make the decision not to renew Taylor's contract. He was officially replaced on Monday by former Nebraska player Jeff Rekeweg (pronounced reck-a-way), who last season led University of St. Francis Fort Wayne to an NAIA Division II title, earning himself coach of the year honors in that association.

Taylor may not have been the best coach (think Wayne Fontes: A coach whose benchmark win totals come with an equal or greater number of losses, both totals mostly due to longevity), but he was one of the most amusing. He'd yell at referees, and forget what he was saying midway through. He'd chew on his own tie, like Jerry Tarkanian.

My favorite Taylor moment was him showing up with divots shaved out of his perpetually messed-up hair, then admitting after the game that he'd fallen asleep in the recliner, and one of his three daughters had decided to try to shave his head while he slept.

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