ND grad Taylor new Ball St. hoops coach

A Golden Domer is returning to Indiana.

Sources in both Pennsylvania and Indiana told Newscenter 16 Tuesday evening that former Irish basketball player Billy Taylor is the new head coach at Ball State.

Taylor coached at Lehigh for the past 5 seasons, turning the program from a Patriot League cellar-dweller into a conference powerhouse.

The year before Taylor arrived at Lehigh, the Mountain Hawks were 1-26. In his first season, he led Lehigh to its first winning record in 12 years and was named Patriot League Coach of the Year. A season later in 2004, Lehigh won its first-ever Patriot League championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.

Ball State and Lehigh officials confirmed Taylor's hiring early Wednesday morning.

“This was a very difficult decision because of the strong feelings I have for the student-athletes in the program, the members of the Lehigh Athletics Department, and other university personnel who have made this such a wonderful experience for me and my family," Taylor said in a statement issued by Lehigh.

Taylor turned down a job offer a year ago to coach at Delaware. He had also interviewed for the Ball State job at that time, but the job was given to Ronny Thompson.

Thompson resigned 3 weeks ago after it was discovered he violated NCAA rules two summers in a row.

Taylor graduated from Notre Dame in 1995. He started more than 75 games in his career while playing under John MacLeod. Taylor was a captain his senior season.

The Chicago native was a 2-time Patriot League Coach of the Year.

A press conference introducing Taylor as the new Ball State head coach is scheduled for Wednesday morning at 11AM.

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