Standard-Examiner

Carla Taylor hopes to help St. Joseph girls basketball forge success

Friday , June 22, 2018 - 5:15 AM

Carla Taylor welds in the garage of her Ogden home on Thursday, June 21, 2018. Taylor was the longtime coach for Weber State University's women's basketball team. In her retirement, Taylor picked up welding and helps with the St. Joseph Catholic High School basketball team.

BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner

Carla Taylor welds in the garage of her Ogden home on Thursday, June 21, 2018. Taylor was the longtime coach for Weber State University's women's basketball team. In her retirement, Taylor picked up welding and helps with the St. Joseph Catholic High School basketball team.

OGDEN — Carla Taylor is busy these days, even if the former longtime Weber State women’s basketball coach retired last year from her job with the GOAL Foundation.

She gives mountain biking lessons multiple times per week and has been busy restoring a yellow Volkswagen Beetle in her driveway.

Taylor also has a newfound hobby: welding recycled metal parts into art.

Wait, welding? Taylor laughs.

Ax heads, hammer heads, nuts, bolts, nails, railroad spikes, saw blades and other assorted bits and pieces of recycled metal fill numerous buckets and shelves in the garage of her Ogden home.

“I weld out of my garage, I just took it up last summer,” she said.

Taylor goes to Bloom Recyclers a couple times a week to buy scrap metal and she quickly gets an idea of what she can make out of each piece.

From there, she welds pieces together and makes metal dogs, cats, tractors, cows, fisherman and the like, and sells them on a word-of-mouth basis.

It’s a far cry from how a lot of people remember her, as the 23-year coach of Weber State women’s basketball who took the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament twice — though there are a few commemorative basketballs in glass cases in the garage, too.

This winter, Taylor’s getting back into coaching. Well ... kind of.

St. Joseph Catholic High announced last month it added Taylor to its girls basketball coaching staff as a mentor. That’s the key word, mentor.

Taylor isn’t going to be a bonafide assistant coach who goes to all the games, meetings and practices, but anytime the Jayhawks’ new head coach Kelsey Henry needs help — someone to bounce ideas, someone to offer advice or help at practice or a game — Taylor’s essentially on speed dial.

“I am a resource for her at any time for her for whatever she needs,” Taylor said. “I wish I had a 30-plus year coach on speed dial when I started coaching, right?”

Henry remembers going to Weber State men’s and women’s basketball games with her father growing up. It was at a time when she found herself wanting to play college basketball while she was a Morgan High player.

She took in plenty of WSU women’s games when Taylor was coaching and plenty of WSU men’s games when Damian Lillard played.

“I’m really excited for her help just because she is so well-known and so well-respected in the coaching community,” Henry said. “She has knowledge about every position and how to deal with parents, or an athlete that may have issues with you, if that may come up.”

Taylor helmed Weber State from 1988-2011 and is the all-time winningest coach in WSU women’s hoops history by a large margin. Her teams won the Big Sky Conference in 2002 and 2003, finished runners-up four other times and she won the second-most games in Big Sky history as a head coach.

WSU didn’t renew her contract after the 2011 season, but to stay in the Ogden community, Taylor moved on to work for the nonprofit GOAL Foundation as a youth manager. In 2015, she was honored by the Utah Sports Hall of Fame Foundation as a Utah Coach of Merit.

Taylor knows a lot of parents from St. Joseph because she did a mountain biking camp in the parking lot there through the GOAL Foundation for a few years. That’s how she met the school’s athletic director, Alex Salvo.

When the school hired Henry and asked Taylor if she would help, Taylor said yes without hesitation.

Henry went from Morgan High to Western Oregon University, where she played basketball and graduated with a degree in exercise science. Last year, her first out of college, she taught at Layton Christian and was an assistant girls basketball coach.

Now, Henry is in charge of it all for the Jayhawks.

“I really want to build a program that people remember, not just playing good basketball but good young women coming out the program as well. I’m really big on grades and being a good person as well, outside of basketball,” Henry said.

Both Taylor and Henry have experience, know-how and connections in the college basketball world, which could be very helpful if rising St. Joseph senior forward Virginia “Gigi” Tomon decides to pursue college basketball.

Tomon averaged 16.7 points and 12.1 rebounds last season. One could count on one hand the number of times Tomon didn’t record a double-double.

Henry takes charge of a team that graduated just two seniors last year and could very well improve on its fifth-place finish in Region 16. And if she needs any help running drills at practice or an extra set of eyes at a game, Henry can give Taylor a call and she’ll answer — as long as she’s not welding a metal fisherman out of recycled nuts and bolts.

You can reach prep sports reporter Patrick Carr at pcarr@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @patrickcarr_ or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/patrickcarr17.