UCF men’s basketball head coach Johnny Dawkins announced the hiring of Vince Taylor as an assistant coach for the Knights in May of 2017. Taylor is a veteran assistant coach, who has worked at both the collegiate ranks and in the NBA. He also played professionally for 13 seasons after a standout career at Duke.
In his first year on the staff, the Knights dealt with significant injuries to three of their best players. Aubrey Dawkins missed the entire season with a shoulder injury, B.J. Taylor missed the first half of the season, and Tacko Fall missed the second half of the year. Taylor and Fall only played one game together.
Through the injuries, the Knights finished with a 19-13 record, second only to the previous season record in the last five years of UCF Basketball. The team also had a number of firsts, including their first win on the road at Memphis and their first road win over a ranked opponent.
And the defense was as good as ever, holding three opponents under 40 points, setting a new program record by holding SMU to just 37 points, and ranking third in the nation with a scoring defense of 61.7 points per game.
Prior to UCF, Taylor was most recently an assistant coach at Texas Tech under then head coach Tubby Smith. Working with the Red Raider big men, Taylor helped the Texas Tech frontcourt increase its scoring, rebounding and blocked shots from 2013 to 2016. He was instrumental in the recruiting success for the Red Raiders. The Hoop Scoop, a national recruiting service, listed Taylor on their Top 60 Assistant Coaches at No. 35.
From 2007 to 2013, Taylor was an assistant coach at Minnesota, helping the Golden Gophers secure 10 Top 150 recruits over the six-year span. An excellent teacher and on-court coach, he helped with opponent scouting as well as other assigned duties at Minnesota.
Prior to his stint with the Gophers, Taylor spent the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons with the Minnesota
Timberwolves of the NBA. With the Timberwolves, Taylor was responsible for player development and scouting opponents.
Taylor spent seven seasons as an assistant at the University of Louisville, four under Rick Pitino and three under Denny Crum. While with the Louisville program, Taylor earned the reputation as one of the nation’s top recruiters.
He helped the Cardinals land a top-five recruiting class in 2001 under Pitino that included McDonald’s All-American Carlos Hurt. Taylor was also heavily responsible for the recruitment of Reece Gaines to Louisville. Gaines was a four-year starter and was named third team All-America as a senior. Gaines was the 15th pick of the 2003 NBA Entry Draft. In 2005, Louisville returned to the Final Four with many of Taylor’s recruits, including Francisco Garcia. Garcia was then selected as the 23rd pick in the 2005 Draft by Sacramento.
Before joining the Louisville staff in 1998, Taylor was an assistant coach at the University of Pittsburgh (1997-98) and briefly at the University of Wyoming (1998).
Before Taylor began his coaching career, he spent 13 seasons playing professional basketball in Europe, including the last two as a player/assistant coach in the Belgian professional league. Additionally, he averaged 3.1 points, 1.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game with the New York Knicks in 1982-83 after being selected by the team in the second round (33rd overall) of the 1982 NBA Draft. Taylor was traded to the Indiana Pacers in 1983-84 before beginning his European career in 1984, initially in Italy (1984-86), then moving to France (1986-92) and finishing his career in Belgium (1992-97).
A standout guard at Duke University, Taylor earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference and honorable mention All-America honors as a senior (1981-82) by averaging 20.3 points per game, a number that led the ACC. During Taylor’s collegiate career, the Blue Devils won the 1979 ACC regular season championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament twice (1979 and 1980) and National Invitational Tournament once (1981). Taylor, who scored 1,455 career collegiate points, finished his career as one of the top 10 scorers in Duke history. He once held the school record by playing in 120 consecutive games.
A 1982 graduate of Duke with a bachelor’s degree in economics, Taylor was named to the President’s List at Duke his senior year. That honor is awarded to only five percent of the student body, and is based on contributions to the university and academic achievements.
Taylor prepped at Tates Creek High School, where he was a McDonald’s High School All-American as a senior in 1978, while averaging 29.3 points and 11 rebounds per game. A native of Lexington, Ky., Taylor has two children: son, Brendan and daughter, Maya.