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December 11, 2013 at 5:24 PM

Skyline’s Taylor a finalist for Central Washington head coach

Mat Taylor has won four state championships as head coach at Skyline. (Seattle Times photo)

Mat Taylor has won four state championships as head coach at Skyline. (Seattle Times photo)

Skyline head football coach Mat Taylor is a finalist at Central Washington University for the same job.

Taylor first interviewed for the job last Friday and is one of four finalists for the job. He will be in Ellensburg next week to interview Wednesday night and Thursday. Taylor, a CWU graduate, has never coached at the collegiate level.

Taylor was interested in the opening since September, soon after assistant John Picha became the interim coach after Blaine Bennett was fired on Aug. 9.

“My wife and I talked early on,” Taylor said. “It would be cool because we wouldn’t totally have to uproot, and I think that’s the most important thing. I mean, we both went to school in Ellensburg and it’s still close enough to home. If it did work out, in theory I could commute for awhile until we could transition our family.”

Taylor said he knew the chips would be stacked against him because he doesn’t have college coaching experience, but he ended up submitting his paperwork on the Nov. 22 deadline and earned an interview.

“I think the number one thing [is] I’ve had the opportunity to be on the other side,” said Taylor of what he offers as a candidate. “I understand how Washington football [works], which I think can be the mainstay of Central Washington University, is of recruiting Washington football players through and through — being an advantage with being the only Division II team in Washington. Knowing what the players want to hear and what they want to see and then also having strong connections to high school coaches here in Washington.”

Taylor is 72-9 in his six seasons as head coach at Skyline, winning four state championships during that time. He was previously on staff with Skyline as an assistant for nine years before taking over for Steve Gervais.

“Like I told them when I interviewed on Friday, all I know is I don’t get to start coaching football until three o’clock in the afternoon. I’m a full-time special educations teacher, and then when that bell rings, then I get to start being a full on coach. I’m [excitedd] to have the opportunity to be able to do it all day and all year around and see what happens.”

CWU athletic director Dennis Francois told the Herald that he plans to make a hire by Jan. 1 and would like to extend an offer before Christmas. Other candidates are John Graham (Eastern Washington defensive coordinator, Chris Tormey (former Idaho and Nevada head coach) and Ian Shoemaker (co-offensive coordinator at St. Cloud State in Minnesota).

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