sunny.png
Tuesday August 20th, 2019 6:58PM

Georgia's Taylor keeps coaching, running through pregnancy

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

ATHENS (AP) — Joni Taylor gets intense on the sideline coaching the Georgia Lady Bulldogs.

Her actions recently have been making her players nervous. It's understandable. Taylor is coaching for two and she is due to give birth next month.

Taylor can laugh at the concerns because she said her doctor has not put any restraints on her.

"Not at all," Taylor told The Associated Press on Monday when asked if doctors have any medical reservations. "The fans do. I get emails every day. People tell me to stop running, stop jumping, stop stomping."

There's little chance of that.

Taylor, 39, runs at least three times a week and clocked an 8-minute mile last week. When she's not pregnant, she runs half-marathons. She's not about to sit still now.

At the end of the Lady Bulldogs' tight win over then-No. 13 Tennessee on Sunday, Taylor was fulling engaged. Her players seem to have one eye on the clipboard and the other on their coach.

"Oh man. She was stomping and everything," guard Taja Cole Cole said. "She's going to go into labor on the sideline soon!"

Taylor and her husband, WNBA Atlanta Dream assistant coach Darius Taylor, had their first baby girl, Jaci, about a week before the 2016-17 season. Joni said she is enjoying another smooth pregnancy.

"God has shown me tremendous favor," Taylor said. "My pregnancies both have been very smooth. I had a very easy pregnancy with Jaci and very easy delivery. I've had a very smooth pregnancy so far, the second time around. That has enabled me to have good energy, to be available for this program, our young ladies, our recruits."

Taylor said she is "still waking up at 4 and 5 o'clock" for workouts and has had no morning sickness.

"That has allowed me to operate in a pretty normal way," she said.

Taylor's other baby is the Georgia women's program.

She is in her fourth season as only the team's second full-time coach. Andy Landers' 36-year stint as coach included five Final Four appearances, 20 Sweet 16s and seven Southeastern Conference regular-season championships.

Taylor, who played at Alabama, was Landers' top assistant when he retired.

Four-time Olympian Teresa Edwards was one of many former players who returned to cheer Georgia's 66-62 win over Tennessee on Sunday. Edwards said she wants Taylor to surpass milestones reached by Landers because Georgia is looking for its first national championship.
"I think her impact is coming," Edwards said. "Anybody following Andy has a challenge. At the same time, we didn't get to the mountaintop so we left plenty of room for Joni to grow. I think in her short period of time she's working really hard to change that culture back to what we built, back to the winning culture."

Taylor led Georgia to a 26-7 record and 12-4 finish in the SEC last season, including the second round of the NCAA tournament. She was given a raise to $750,000 per year on a new contract through 2024.

Georgia was ranked No. 14 in the preseason Top 25 but fell out of the Top 25 with losses in November to UCLA, Georgia Tech and Maryland. The win over Tennessee was important in the Lady Bulldogs' resurgence, especially following a close loss at No. 7 Mississippi State.

Georgia (12-5, 3-1 SEC) has won six of seven entering Thursday's game at Missouri.

Taylor's goal is to keep coaching as long as possible next month and then return for the end of the regular season and the SEC tournament scheduled to begin on March 6 in Greenville, South Carolina. As was the case two years ago, associate head coach Karen Lange will be the interim head coach while Taylor is away.

"If I have a smooth delivery this time around the way I did the first time, I plan to be back as soon as possible to finish the season before taking some time off," she said.

Taylor said she has strong support from her husband, her parents — who are spending much time at the Taylors' home — and athletic director Greg McGarity.

Before Jaci's birth two years ago, Taylor felt it necessary to provide McGarity reassurance she had a plan while away from the team. She said she offered McGarity's then-top assistant Carla Williams, now Virginia's athletic director, a written schedule.

"She was like 'I don't need this,'" Taylor said of Williams. "I said what do you mean? She said 'Greg and I are fully confident you have a plan in place or we would not have hired you, period. So you hold onto that. We don't need to see it. We have confidence in you.'"

Those words from Williams, who played and coached under Landers at Georgia before becoming an administrator, provided comfort Taylor said she still relishes.
"When you have that kind of support from the top down, it puts you at ease and makes you feel good about where you are coming into work each day," she said.
 

 

© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Tennis: More than a dozen area teams qualify for state tournament
More than a dozen northeast Georgia area teams qualified for the state tournament Wednesday at various region tournaments held around the area...
8:10AM ( 3 hours ago )
Horton hustles to Limited Late Model victory at Senoia
Austin Horton captured a $1,000 payday with a win in Saturday’s Limited Late Model feature at Georgia’s Senoia Raceway.
8:00AM ( 3 hours ago )
Sumner's 3 last-second free throws lift Pacers past Hawks
Edmond Sumner sank three free throws with three-tenths of a second remaining, lifting the playoff-bound Indiana Pacers over the Atlanta Hawks 135-134 Wednesday night.
11:15PM ( 12 hours ago )
Sports
Dan Evans named UNG men's basketball coach
Following an extensive national search, University of North Georgia Director of Athletics Lindsay Reeves has announced Dan Evans as the fourth head men's basketball coach in program history on Tuesday.
2:26PM ( 1 day ago )
No. 2 Bulldogs look to even series with No. 17 Tech
The second-ranked University of Georgia baseball team will look to even the series with archrival Georgia Tech Tuesday at Foley Field.
12:22PM ( 1 day ago )
Comeback! Cavs get their title, 85-77 in OT over Texas Tech
Led by De’Andre Hunter and his NBA-ready game, the Cavaliers turned themselves into national champions Monday night, holding off tenacious, ferocious Texas Tech for an 85-77 overtime win — a scintillating victory that came 388 days after a crushing setback that might have sunk a lesser team for years.
12:13AM ( 2 days ago )
College Sports
Dungee leads Arkansas women past Georgia 86-76 in SEC tourney
Chelsea Dungee scored 31 points, her fourth 30-point outing of the season and 10th-seeded Arkansas upended No. 7 Georgia 86-76 on Thursday night in the second round of the Southeastern Conference tournament.
By The Associated Press
9:58PM ( 1 month ago )
No. 11 South Carolina women beat Georgia 65-57
Destanni Henderson scored 14 points and No. 11 South Carolina pulled away from Georgia late to take a 65-57 victory on Thursday night.
By The Associated Press
10:26PM ( 1 month ago )
Lady Dogs fall on the road to Missouri
The Georgia Lady Bulldogs basketball team was held to a season-low in scoring, as the Missouri Tigers rolled to a 61-35 victory Thursday evening at Mizzou Arena.
By AccessWDUN Staff
7:52AM ( 2 months ago )
Robinson, Georgia hand No. 13 Lady Vols rare 3-game skid
Caliya Robinson had 16 points, six rebounds, five assists and two of her six blocks in a critical last-minute possession on Sunday and Georgia defeated No. 13 Tennessee 66-62, giving the Lady Vols a three-game losing streak for the first time in 33 years.
By The Associated Press
6:02PM ( 2 months ago )
Lady Dogs can't hold on in loss to No. 7 Maryland
Stephanie Jones scored 21 points, and No. 7 Maryland held off Georgia for a 58-51 victory Saturday in the Puerto Rico Clasico tournament...
By The Associated Press
3:17PM ( 4 months ago )