IU & Bishop Chatard Alum Taylor Wayer Talks Goals & Excitement As New Boys Basketball Head Coach

Photographer: Michael Durr

Taylor WayerBishop Chatard High School’s varsity boys basketball squad has several reasons to be confident heading into the coming season.

Not only do the Trojans have two of last season’s top three scorers back in incoming seniors Edreece Redmond and Sam Richey, but new head coach Taylor Wayer is bringing renewed optimism and a fresh perspective into the mix.

“I feel like we have a lot of potential to be contenders every single game,” says Wayer, whose family moved to Indiana when he was two years old and who played multiple sports while growing up in northeast Indianapolis. “We’ve never had a ton of size, but our players are always tough and I’m going to be working hard to make sure the effort is there from every one of our players to compete in such a tough conference.”

A 2010 Bishop Chatard alum, Wayer played at Indiana University where he lettered for four years as a walk-on guard under then-head coach Tom Crean and was a member of the 2013 Big Ten championship team. The 5’11” Wayer says practicing regularly with standouts like Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller, both current NBA players, prepared him for future coaching roles.

“Going from being a contributor for two or three years in high school to not playing in games in most cases in college, it was a blessing in disguise because I really got to spend four years as more of a coach than a player,” he says. “I was always studying the other teams, and I was always very vocal on the bench and in the locker room, providing a spark without being in the game. It was probably the best thing that could’ve happened for my coaching.”

Within a few months after graduating from IU in 2014, Wayer knew he wanted to stay involved with the game of basketball and eventually took an assistant coaching position at Mount Vernon High School where his younger brother Miles was a senior at the time. He also began building out a player development program called Competitive Greatness, with help from Miles and Erik Fromm, who played on Butler University’s 2011 national runner-up team.

“We’ve been able to help a lot of young kids with the development program,” Wayer says, adding that the Competitive Greatness system focuses on fundamentals such as ball handling, footwork and shooting in addition to strength training and agility. 

In addition to Mount Vernon, Wayer also served as an assistant for the BCHS varsity team under Brian Shaughnessy, who spent six seasons as the Trojans’ head coach. Throughout 2018, Wayer decided to focus exclusively on his player development program and further prepare himself for a head coaching opportunity and earlier this year that opportunity came knocking.

“With Bishop Chatard being my alma mater, I talked to the athletic director and the president about having an interest in the position when the head coach made the announcement that there would be an opening,” Wayer says. “I have a great relationship with a lot of people at Chatard — coaches, staff members and teachers as well as players I’ve trained before through my training program who are now playing here.”

Wayer says his excitement upon officially getting the news that he’d be leading the Trojans was quickly followed by a realization of the sizable workload that lays ahead of him. The Trojans have not won a sectional championship in 15 years and last year notched its first winning record since the 2011-2012 season.

“I want to get the program back to where we’re competing against everyone,” he says. “I have some players who’ve trained with me before but some haven’t so there are adjustments to be made as far as getting everyone used to my system. There’s a lot of work to do.”

With several senior leaders including Redmond and Richey, as well as a crop of juniors with varsity experience, Wayer is optimistic and says his current focus is on building camaraderie and team-mindedness.

“I have a ton of basketball stuff that I want to work on, with things we did at IU and other stuff I’ve learned, but I’m not even going to touch that stuff until I think the energy and the effort is where it needs to be,” he says. “So far the focus has been on things like communication on defense and never giving up on the play. I think we can be really strong this season. The guys are showing signs of that.”

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