December 3, 2009 11:35:00 AM
It''s all about serving others to Shaun Taylor.
Whether it''s working in game management at Mississippi State or helping as a volunteer football coach at West Point High School, Taylor welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the communities and schools he loves.
Taylor was a kicker for the Green Wave from 1986-89 and was a part of three state championships (1987, 1988, 1989). He''ll be one of West Point''s biggest fans as it goes for another title at 7 p.m. Saturday against Wayne County.
"West Point has always been a great community and football has been our love," Taylor said. "I know basketball is up and coming and baseball is coming around, but it''s mainly about football.
"Anytime I''m walking around Walmart, people come up and start talking about West Point football. It puts a smile on everyone''s face. It gives you something to talk about when football season is over because there''s not much to talk about. Everybody starts looking forward to next year."
While at West Point High, Taylor played for his late father, Skip, and Bubba Davis, who now coaches at Columbus High. Davis remembers Taylor as a dependable kicker who was good in the clutch.
"Two of the years we won state, he kicked a field goal in a game we won 3-0 in overtime and the next year we won the game 24-21 and he kicked a field goal," Davis said. "He was very instrumental in us leaving Jackson with two state championships. When we needed him to go out and kick one, he was pretty reliable."
After high school, Taylor went to Auburn University for his freshman season under coach Pat Dye, then transferred to MSU when Jackie Sherrill took over as coach in 1991. He played for the Bulldogs from 1991-94.
Taylor remained at MSU and began working in the athletic department as a student assistant in 2001.
If it wasn''t for being connected with sports and the Bulldogs, Taylor isn''t sure what he would be doing.
"My dad coached and I was a manager before I was playing," Taylor said. "I tried to play every sport I could coming out of high school. It''s all I''ve ever known."
As assistant coordinator of event management and facilities at MSU, Taylor oversees the operations of women''s basketball, soccer, softball, men''s and women''s tennis, track and field, and cross country.
MSU Athletic Director Greg Byrne said Taylor is an important member of the operations department.
"We talk all of the time about how every one of us has to be pulling a rope in the right direction for us to have success, and you never have to worry about that with Shaun," Byrne said. "He''s always on board giving 110 percent with everything."
Bobby Tomlinson, who''s the associate director of athletics for event management and facilities for the Bulldogs, said Taylor is "a very dependable person and someone who loves the university, comes to work every day with a great attitude and a person you want to be around all of the time."
Taylor plans to pass his love for sports and community on to his two sons, Carson (6) and Jack Carter (3). He thanks his wife, Lauren, for all of her support.
"Carson already wants to do everything," Taylor said. "He helped a little bit with soccer as a ball boy and absolutely loved it. My wife does a good job being able to put up with me and all of the sports I deal with and the long hours."
Despite his work at MSU keeping him busy, Taylor remembers where he came from and tries to assist the Green Wave whenever he can.
After serving as the team''s statistician for years, Taylor volunteers his time every other week to instruct the kickers for coach Chris Chambless.
"I don''t get out there as much as I would like to, but I''ve been working with Kwame Williams," Taylor said. "It''s been a first for me with someone who can kick with both legs. He can kick and punt with his right or left leg. He''s doing a good job. It took a little while to get his confidence up, but he''s doing good."
As Chambless prepares his team to challenge for the Class 5A crown, he values Taylor''s knowledge.
"He''s been willing to come in and help anywhere he can," Chambless said. "He has helped us out so much and has been a valued member of our family around here."
Taylor said lending a hand is the least he can do because he believes in Chambless and what he''s doing in West Point.
"(Chambless) is trying to take it back to the next level, and it looks like the junior high is going to be pretty good, too," Taylor said. "I think we''re back to stay for a while."