Kerry Taylor, who recently stepped down after two seasons as head coach of the Arcadia football program, has been hired for the same position at San Tan Charter School in Gilbert.
Taylor takes over a program that will make the jump from the Canyon Athletic Association to the Arizona Interscholastic Association next season and compete at the 2A Conference level.
“It was a perfect opportunity,” Taylor said. “There is an incoming principal that I trust and know. I thought the administration was great. The superintendent reached out to me and told me what he wanted, and our visions aligned.”
Taylor was hired to resurrect the Arcadia football program in 2018 after the Titans won just two games in the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
After he led Arcadia to a 6-4 record in his first season, he was recommended for termination following a warning issued by the AIA against the program for recruiting allegations and mandatory offseason practices.
Players and members of the Arcadia community rallied behind Taylor, pleading for the administration and district to reinstate him as head coach. Nearly two weeks after he was initially terminated, Taylor was reinstated.
He again led Arcadia to a 6-4 record and announced his decision to step down in November. Taylor will now lead a San Tan Charter program that went 13-6 the past two seasons, winning the CAA Charter League championship both years.
“It’s a great group of kids,” Taylor said. “It’s a good chance for me to come in and move them up to the AIA and continue to grow the program. This team is used to winning, they expect it.”
Taylor will be joined by a majority of the staff that was with him at Arcadia the past two seasons. Pierre Singfield, who played for ASU and the Houston Texans and was the defensive coordinator at Arcadia, will re-join Taylor at San Tan Charter along with Jamar Allah, a former University of Arizona player. Trent Marsh will coach the offensive line along with Troy Johnson and Oscar Alexander, who were part of the Arcadia freshman and junior varsity staff.
With a coaching staff that is familiar with one another, Taylor hopes to make an immediate impact at the 2A level next season.
“We want to be one of the best programs in the state and become a football factory for Arizona,” Taylor said. “I watched a lot of film to see what they’re really good at and the one thing I liked was how much they compete. As long as I have a group of kids that want to do that and give 100 percent, we will find ways to help them be successful.”
Taylor was a standout wide receiver at Hamilton High School before going on to play at Arizona State University, where he had 112 catches for 1,433 yards and seven touchdowns from 2007-10. He then went on to play for the Arizona Cardinals and Jacksonville Jaguars and was part of the practice squad for several other NFL teams.
He was hired in 2016 to be the head coach at Salt River High School in Scottsdale, which competes in the CAA. He then joined the staff at Oregon State University before being hired at Arcadia.
He and his wife, Alanna, recently built a house just 20 minutes from where he grew up and attended Hamilton. The lure of being only 10 minutes away from home, especially with a 2-month old son, was part of what drew Taylor to San Tan Charter.
“I wanted to be at a school close to home,” Taylor said. “My son is 2 months old so being closer was important, so I wasn’t commuting a couple of hours like I was last year.”
With schools closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Taylor will be unable to physically meet with San Tan Charter players until it is deemed safe to do so by state health officials.
In the meantime, he plans to begin video chatting with each player one-by-one on Wednesday, getting to know more about them and their families before diving into Xs and Os.
“I just want to kind of dive down to who they are as people and understand their lives,” Taylor said. “Once I kind of know them on a personal level then we can move forward and talk about football. We won’t know how much physical practice time we will have before our first game, so we have to get creative through the virtual world.
“We have a good plan in place and I’m excited. I know the kids will be ready for the first game.”