Taylor’s passing shocks UH
Tragedy struck the UH community with the sudden passing of head swimming coach Mark Taylor.
He suffered an apparent heart attack in Austin on Friday while he was attending the NCAA Championships to support the two UH divers at the meet.
“He cared about everyone around him so much,” senior swimmer Andrea Kells said. “He would do anything for his swimmers and the people he worked with.
“He was a good person and a good role model to have as a swimmer and as a friend.
In his nine seasons at UH, Taylor, 50, led the Cougars to seven top-30 finishes at the NCAA meet, with the most recent being a 17th-place finish in 2009
His .511 winning percentage makes him the winningest swim coach in program history. He ranked second among UH coaches in dual-meets with 45 wins.
He was awarded the Conference USA coach of the year in 2009, after he helped guide UH to a second place finish at the conference meet.
Upon graduating from high school, Taylor’s career aspiration was to one day coach swimming.
He graduated from Arizona State in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in recreation management. Taylor continued his education, earning a master’s degree in physical education from the University in December of 2010.
Between 1994-1998 he worked as an assistant coach at Arizona St. He also had experience on the international circuit. Throughout his career he spent time coaching for Denmark, Iceland, Lithuania, the U.K. and Zimbabwe.
Sophomore swimmer Reka Kovacs, who came to UH from Hungary, said Taylor was more than a coach to her.
“I am very thankful to know him, just for the fact he was the one who made me able to come here to this team,” Kovacs said. “He was like my father here. I came here alone, and had no one that I knew — but I could always talk to him. He was someone I could fully trust.”
Those around Taylor said he had a supportive personality and infectious sense of humor.
“He was a funny guy, and made jokes all the time,” Kovacs said. “If you had a bad day then talked to him, he made it better.”
There will be a viewing today from 1-3 p.m. at the Crowder Funeral Home at 111 E. Medical Center Blvd. in Webster. His funeral is tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on 1802 Gunwale Road.
Taylor wanted his swimmers to aspire for greatness, and that message will live on in those he taught.
“The best thing I learned from him was to never give up,” Kells said. “He never gave up on his dreams and what he wanted to do with his life. He never gave up on anyone around him when they were going through a hard time and struggling.”