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After months of deliberation, the Canby Cougar boys basketball team has found their next head coach.
Matt Taylor, longtime Canby resident and former star high school player, will helm the Cougar boys basketball program for the 2022-23 season, the Current has learned.
Athletic Director Ben Winegar has confirmed Taylor will replace former coach Craig Evans, who stepped down this past March after 12 years at the helm of Cougar basketball.
Taylor has previously worked in the high school ranks as an assistant coach for Gladstone — his alma mater. And, while this opportunity marks Taylor’s first head varsity coaching experience, he is by no means a stranger to the local and regional youth basketball scene.
A four-year varsity player and all-star at Gladstone High School, Taylor played college ball at Corban University in Salem, as well as an Argentinian college traveling team during those years.
Following his basketball career, Taylor coached around the state, including assisting for Gladstone, coaching AAU basketball and hosting several camps and clinics.
For the last 20 years, though, he has been a mainstay of the Canby community. Two of his sons, Dylan and Austin, played varsity basketball, while third son Trevor raced cross country. After years of watching his boys come through the high school, Taylor is ready to coach there.
“It’s honestly a dream come true,” the new head coach told the Current. “The Canby community has been great to our family for the almost 20 years we have been here, and I hope to give back in such a way that demonstrates how much I care about this community and what the sport of basketball can teach about life.”
Taylor served as president of Canby Junior Basketball for eight years, and was the coach of the eighth-grade traveling team for several years. In 2017, he coached the Cougars’ eighth-grade squad to a state championship with a 47-41 victory over the Sherwood Bowmen.
The Cougars basketball team completed their final year in the 6A Three Rivers League this past season, qualifying for the playoffs with a 14-12 record — where they nearly pulled off the first-round upset over the higher-seeded Lincoln Cardinals.
With a new coach and a move down to the 5A classification based on enrollment numbers, the Cougs are in ideal position for a retooling after saying goodbye to 10 seniors from the 2021 season’s varsity squad, including the entire starting lineup.
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