– Queens (N.Y.) College acting director of athletics, Brian
DeMasters announced the hiring of Leanna Taylor, previously head
coach of H.B. Plant High School (Tampa) where she directed her
squad to six state titles (five as head coach), as the
Knights’ women’s volleyball head coach. Taylor coached
Plant for eight seasons (seven as head coach), and her overall
record at the helm was 185-20 (.902).
"Queens College is excited to announce Leanna Taylor as our next head women's volleyball coach,” said DeMasters. “Her experience, along with her positive attitude and energy predict a bright future for our volleyball program."
“I am very fortunate to have been offered this opportunity,” said Taylor – who won state championships at Plant as an assistant coach in 2003, and as head coach each of the last five campaigns (2006-10). “During the process Queens College demonstrated a very strong commitment to the volleyball program. I would like to thank Brian DeMasters, (Queens assistant director of athletics) Leslie Busch and (Queens chief operating officer/vice president for institutional advancement) Sue Henderson for their hospitality and patience during the process. They have also demonstrated a great faith in me for which I am humbled. I am very excited to be a part of Queens College; there are many great things Queens has to offer student-athletes and I feel the athletic department and I have the same vision of the kind of program that can exist. I will give maximum effort to fulfill their expectations.”
Taylor’s program at Plant has been nationally recognized since her arrival at the Tampa school. Five of Plant’s state championship teams achieved year-end national rankings since she came aboard, including a No. 8 mark during the 2009 campaign. Taylor was recently one of seven individuals recognized by the Positive Coaching Alliance and the Institute for International Sport as a Sports Ethics Fellow. Other notable individuals recognized as this year’s sports ethics fellows include Shane Battier of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies, and Green Bay Packers president and chief executive officer, Mark Murphy.
On four occasions (2006-09), Taylor was recognized as her division’s Florida Dairy Farmers Coach of the Year, including an overall state coach-of-the-year nod in 2007. The Tampa Tribune’s Parade of Athletes overall female Coach of the Year in 2008, she has coached three Gatorade Florida players of the year, and 21 of her former players from Plant are receiving volleyball scholarships at the NCAA level.
A sports marketing instructor throughout her time at Plant, Taylor also has extensive club volleyball coaching experience. From 1997-2005, she was a coach in the Tampa Bay Juniors volleyball program. While there, Taylor coached 12-to-18-year-olds of the highest caliber, and included among her duties were: selecting and evaluating players; discovering talent; and travel preparation and implementation. Since 2010, Taylor has been a head coach in the Tampa Bay One Volleyball Club.
As impressive as Taylor’s coaching resume is, her playing background was just as impressive. A seven-year member of the Tampa Bay Juniors club as a scholastic player, she was a four-year starter at Tampa Preparatory School – where her team won three state championships (1991, ’92, ’94), and was ranked No. 1 nationally by Volleyball Monthly in 1993. In the college game, Taylor played during the 1995 campaign at Georgia Tech, where she helped the Yellow Jackets to the Atlantic Coast Conference title and the NCAA Division I round of 16. From there, she rounded out her college career at the University of Tampa, where she was a 1997 Sunshine State Conference first-team all-academic selection, and helped the Spartans to a SSC title and an appearance in the NCAA Division II semifinals in 1998.
A member of Florida Athletic Coaches Association, Taylor also holds a USA Volleyball Coaching Accreditation Program Level 1 certificate. The former Leanna Prida is married to Matthew Taylor, and the couple has three children: Liam (11), Pilar (9) and Reece (3).
What they’re saying about Leanna Taylor
Chris Catanach, University of Tampa – head coach
“Leanna is loaded with energy and enthusiasm. She is very hard-working, and I think she will make a great transition to the college game.”
Randy Dagostino, Tampa Bay Junior Director and Berkeley Preparatory School – head coach
“I have known Leanna since she was a teenager at (Berkeley Prep’s arch-rival) Tampa Prep. She is a serious competitor, and I will always remember her for hard work and competitive nature. Leanna works her student-athletes extremely hard, and always finds new ways to train her teams and get them into the best possible shape. I knew any time we were going to be playing any of Leanna’s teams that we would have our hands full.”
Jill Stephens, Florida Southern College – head coach
“I think the world of Leanna. She brings a ton of passion to the game, and I think she will be great at creating team chemistry and vision for the program. Her vision and competitive spirit, and her ability to train teams to exceed their potential, are outstanding.”
Provided by the Queens College Sports Information department.