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Boys' basketball: Derrick Taylor is leaving Taft for St. John Bosco

July 5, 2011 |  5:17 pm

Derrick Taylor, who turned Woodland Hills Taft into a City Section basketball power, is taking over as head coach at Bellflower St. John Bosco. The school sent out a news release this afternoon confirming his hire.

It's a new and intriguing challenge for Taylor, who graduated from Taft, spent years as the junior varsity coach and took over as head coach in 2000-01, guiding the Toreadors to three City Section Division I titles in 11 seasons while breaking up the Westchester-Fairfax monopoly of the past decade. His teams won 10 West Valley League titles and were 104-6 in league play.

"After nearly 25 years at Taft High School, I have decided to seize the new opportunity at St. John Bosco to build a championship caliber program," Taylor said in the news release. "The Braves are sleeping giants hungry for a winning team. With a strong reputation throughout Southern California in academics and sports, the opportunity was too great to pass up."

Taking over a private school program in the tough Trinity League, Taylor will have to face veteran coaches such as Gary McKnight of Santa Ana Mater Dei and Jerry DeBusk of Santa Margarita while taking on rising coaches such as Chris Nordstrom of Orange Lutheran. But St. John Bosco is located in an ideal area between Orange County and Los Angeles, making it a program with the potential to attract top players.

His departure is another big blow for a Taft athletic program that lost football Coach Matt Kerstetter to a Florida high school after budget cutbacks.

-- Eric Sondheimer

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