ATHENS, Ga. — Joni Taylor, who led the Georgia Lady Bulldogs basketball team to its best record since the 2006-07 campaign and its biggest single-season turnaround since 1980, has been named the state of Georgia Women’s College Coach of the Year by the Atlanta Tip-Off Club.
This marks the second time in three seasons Taylor has earned the honor, with the first coming after she led the 2015-16 squad to a 21-10 record. This season, she guided the Lady Bulldogs to a second place finish in the Southeastern Conference standings after the team was picked eighth in the league’s preseason poll.
The 2017-18 Lady Bulldogs finished with a 26-7 overall record and hosted the NCAA tournament first and second rounds in Athens for the first time since 2003.
“This is a team award,” Taylor said. “I have said it over and over that I am surrounded by some of the top people in our field — from our assistant coaches, student-athletes and support staff — we truly have the best here at the University of Georgia. I want to thank all of them for their help and hard work this season. I also want to thank the Atlanta Tip-Off Club for this honor and what they do for college basketball.”
Taylor’s impact on the Lady Bulldogs’ basketball program has been wide-ranging. In addition to on the court accomplishments — which includes two NCAA tournaments, five All-SEC players, 10 victories against top-25 teams in three seasons and two 20-win campaigns — her teams have been heavily involved in the Athens community since she was named head coach in 2015.
One of her greatest accomplishments is the Beyond Basketball organization. The group of women, which has grown rapidly over three years, meet the first Wednesday of every month, hear from a featured speaker and talk about community service initiatives in and around Athens.
Under her guidance, two student-athletes in three years (Marjorie Butler and Haley Clark) have earned the SEC’s coveted Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award, while three have landed on the league’s Community Service Team.
The Georgia Women’s College Coach of the Year Award is part of the Atlanta Tip-Off Club’s extensive list of postseason honors. In addition to the Coach of the Year for both men’s and women’s basketball, the group also names a men’s and women’s Player of the Year each season.