Centennial coach wins Frank Kush award | Sports

By Joe McHugh, Peoria Times Staff Writer
5 Min Read

Richard Taylor knew that football was his calling from the first time he put on pads in the seventh grade. 

Taylor “wasn’t very good,” but that didn’t stop him. He continued playing into his senior year in college and knew, when the season concluded, he wouldn’t play again.

Not wanting to give up on the game, he started coaching at Edison High School in his hometown of Milan, Ohio, in 1972. 

Fast forward to 2024 and he’s still passionate about football. He moved to the Valley in 1991 and built a legacy that rivals some of the greatest coaches in Arizona football history. 

Throughout his 33-year career, Taylor has been inducted into the Arizona High School Coaching Hall of Fame, won seven state titles, and turned Centennial into a powerhouse. 

Most recently, he led the Centennial High School football to the AIA Open Division Championship game. 

“I still have the same kind of excitement in the state championship game this year that I did for the first one,” Taylor said. “And the first game of the year is always the same to me. I always feel like I’m going to get sick an hour or two before the game, and to go out onto the field with your coaches and your team, that has never gotten old for me.”

To add to his already extensive resume, Taylor was recently recognized with the Frank Kush Lifetime Achievement Coaching Award for his dedication to his team on and off the field. 

“I was very impressed and honored that the committee would consider me for (the award).” Taylor said. “I’m very grateful for that. … I was a little shocked when I was first told everything and got the award. Then, I started thinking about it, and it is really quite an honor to receive an award named after Frank Kush.”

Named after legendary ASU coach Frank Kush, the prize for high school coaches is awarded by the Valley of the Sun Chapter National Football Foundation. It celebrates the ideals of teaching players the values of commitment, team loyalty, perseverance, practice and preparation, according to the Valley of the Sun.

Taylor now sits in an all-time elite club of Arizona high school football coaches, including legendary coaches Doug Clapp of Peoria High School; Larry Fetkenhier of Cactus High School; and Scooter Molander, formerly of Brophy College Prep High School. 

“I truly understand how fortunate that I am, because there are a lot of coaches in places who probably do a better job and work harder than I do but just don’t have the talent,” Taylor said. “I’m fortunate to have the coaches I do, the community that I coach in.”

His players’ off-the-field achievements bring far more pride than what they accomplish in athletics. He coaches to prepare young men with the tools that will help them succeed in life after football.

“The thing that I’m most proud of is that, since 1994, we’ve helped place 256 players in the college — several of them were the first kid in their family ever to go to college,” Taylor said. “Most players who I have the opportunity to coach probably are never going to make a penny from football. But if they get a college degree, that’s something that lasts forever.”

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By Joe McHugh, Peoria Times Staff Writer , www.peoriatimes.com
www.peoriatimes.com – Vivrr Local Results in sports of type article , 2024-03-31 07:00:00
Tags: richard taylor, centennial high school, centennial high school football, centennial high school news, frank kush award

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