UH loses a swimming legend, friend to all
Though the UH community lost a beloved figure in head swimming coach Mark Taylor, his ambitious vision for the University and the Athletics Department will carry on until it is fulfilled.
Taylor unexpectedly died Friday night in Austin while attending the NCAA Championships.
In his nine years at UH, he embodied what it means to be a Houston Cougar. Taylor placed a high importance on academics for his swimmers. Excelling in the classroom was just as significant as excelling in competition for him, but he could back it up — he recently earned his master’s in physical education from UH in December of 2010.
In an interview with The Daily Cougar in February, Taylor said he once had to pass on a job opportunity as an assistant coach at Arizona State because he was lacking a college education at the time.
Legendary coach Ernie Maglischo pressured him into enrolling into classes, which led to his coaching career blossoming into a successful one.
He gave an endorsement to the quality of education he received at UH.
“This is a powerful university with a great message: Come here, get smarter and learn the things you need to learn,” he said.
Not only did Taylor perform his duties as a collegiate coach, but he took it upon himself to mold young people into responsible adults, by holding them to high standards. He helped guide dozens of athletes balance the challenging schedule of being a student-athlete.
He was a supporter of other UH sports, and could often be seen displaying his Cougar Pride at basketball and football games. Director of athletics Mack Rhoades described him as a “terrific coach and an even better person.”
Taylor leaves behind a wife and two sons. He will be remembered for being an effective teacher, his positive personality and as a strong ambassador for the University.
In this difficult time of grief and loss we would like to send our sincerest condolences Taylor’s immediate and extended family.