Vikings add John Carroll alumna Taylor to coaching staff

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Photo: John Carroll Athletics

Cleveland State threw a stone into the middle of an unusually placid offseason on Wednesday, by adding Emily Taylor to Chris Kielsmeier’s coaching staff and erasing the program’s only significant remaining opening. Taylor, who is essentially taking over the spot vacated by new Youngstown State head coach Melissa Jackson, spent the last four seasons at Merrimack.

Her move to CSU is a homecoming – she’s originally from Elyria, OH – but also a departure, given that she’s leaving the right hand of MC head coach Kelly Morrone after nine seasons in all, the first five of which took place just eight miles east of the Wolstein Center, at John Carroll University.

The duo had a nice run together at Merrimack, particularly given that the school only cleared its transitional status and became eligible for Division I postseason play in 2023-24, five years after moving up from Division II. Taylor served as the program’s recruiting guru while also overseeing the team’s guards, including Northeastern Conference all-league selections Mayson Kimball, Kate Mager, Jayme DeCesare and Kaylee Thomas.

The Warriors won just five games during a COVID-interrupted 2020-21, but rode a strong defense into the top four of the NEC by this past season before being knocked out of the conference tournament by Sacred Heart, the eventual league champion.

Her time in Massachusetts also intersected with a notable forward: former Viking Amaya Staton, a Lorain, OH native who played sparingly as a freshman on CSU’s 2020-21 Women’s Basketball Invitational championship squad before transferring to Merrimack. Staton recently joined Wright State as a graduate transfer, meaning that the two will enjoy a pair of reunions during the 2024-25 Horizon League schedule.

“We are incredibly excited to add Emily to our staff, her experience and love for the Cleveland area will be a great addition as we continue to elevate our program on and off the court,” Kielsmeier said in Cleveland State’s release.

“With a wealth of experience in a variety of areas, Emily will be able to contribute to our program in multiple ways as we continue to strive for championships, while also sharing her love for the city of Cleveland and the Northeast Ohio area. Emily is thrilled to be a Viking, and we can’t wait for her to get started!” 

During her playing career, Taylor was a standout first at Walsh University, then at John Carroll, where she boosted the Blue Streaks to unprecedented success. JCU made the first two NCAA Division III Tournament appearances in its program history in 2014 and 2015, including the school’s first Ohio Athletic Conference regular season title during the 2013-14 season. Despite spending only two full seasons on the roster, Taylor is firmly settled in the program’s all-time top 15 in both assists and made three-pointers.

After graduation, she briefly worked a police officer and a juvenile court case manager before returning to JCU as a grad assistant in 2017 (she would eventually earn her master’s in education in 2020). Taylor helped lead the Streaks’ first-ever OAC tournament championship effort in 2019 before she and Morrone moved on to Merrimack in 2020.

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