Gary Taylor and John HangeyTaylor enters this season with 429 victories, fourth all-time in Division I and first among active Division I wrestling coaches. Taylor is just 11 victories shy of third place.
An eight-time conference Coach of the Year, including the 2016 Eastern Wrestling League Coach of the Year, Taylor has qualified 169 Broncs for the NCAA Championships and has come home with 15 All-Americans, including four in the last 10 years.
Taylor has led Rider to 14 conference championships, including the EWL title last year and his teams have been ranked as high as seventh (1997) and most recently 10th (2015) in the nation. Prior to Taylor's arrival Rider had never had a nationally ranked wrester, a nationally ranked team or an All-American.
In 2014 Taylor was presented with the prestigious Rider University Sesquicentennial Medal of Excellence, a medal that was established in the 150th anniversary of Rider to recognize members of the University community for their exemplary achievements that have brought honor to the school. The only other Sesquicentennial Medal winners from Athletics were Rider's first Olympian, Jazmine Fenlator '07, and Rider's first NBA Lottery Pick Jason Thompson '08.
In the fall of 2010 Taylor was presented with the Frank N. Elliott Award for dedicated service to Rider University.
The University also announced that long-time associate head coach John Hangey will become Rider's third head wrestling coach at the conclusion of the season.
As a Bronc Hangey placed fourth at the 1993 NCAA Championships to become Rider's fifth All-American and went on to become the first Bronc to win his weight class at the prestigious Midlands Championships.
Hangey was a part-time assistant coach at Rider from 1994-97 before leaving to take the head coaching position at Bucknell University. Hangey returned to Rider in 2000 to become the program's first full-time assistant coach.
The 2016-17 Rider season begins November 6 at Virginia Tech and concludes March 18 in St. Louis at the NCAA Championships.
In between, the legend of Coach Taylor will continue.
Quote from Gary Taylor:
"I would like to say that it has been my distinct privilege and honor to be the head wrestling coach at Rider University for what will be 39 years at the conclusion of this year.
I consider myself truly blessed to have been able to have a career doing what I love, coaching wrestling at the Division I collegiate level.
I believe every career coach would love to retire at a point where the program is in really good shape. Having just won the EWL championship last year, produced our 15th All American, the second in two years and the fourth in the past ten years, and having been ranked as high as 10th in the nation in the last three years, Rider wrestling is clearly at that point. The program is poised for even greater success, with two All-Americans returning for the next two years (first time ever in the program's history). Our wrestling room is filled with outstanding young student-athletes who are working hard to make their mark. The program is clearly in a very good place both within the conference and nationally.
In addition to the program having a cadre of student-athletes who are capable of having a serious impact on the national level, I also firmly believe that we have an associate head coach in John Hangey who, along with an outstanding coaching staff, has the ability to take the Rider wrestling program to the next level.
The timing does not get much better than this and for all the above mentioned reasons I have decided that this is indeed the best time to step down at the end of this, my 39th season."
Quote from Rider Director of Athletics Don Harnum on Coach Taylor:
"I would like to congratulate Coach Taylor on his decision to retire at the end of this season. As he always does, he handled this difficult decision with a lot of thought and concern for the wrestling program.
Gary Taylor's track record speaks for itself. His core values of recruiting and developing young men through hard work has stood the test of time for nearly four decades. His sustainable and effective approach of not taking short cuts and doing things the right way are a shining example of how to succeed in coaching."
Quote from Don Harnum on John Hangey:
"John is more than ready to succeed Gary Taylor as only the third coach in Rider's illustrious wrestling history. He has earned this opportunity and I am confident that John can, and will, build on the many accomplishments that he has been a big part of the last 15 years as the associate head coach."
Quote From John Hangey on Gary Taylor
"It has been an absolute honor and privilege to have been recruited, coached and mentored by Coach Gary Taylor. His leadership, education of young men and success are second to none at the collegiate level. He is an incredible human being who has done an amazing job developing a nationally prominent wrestling program at Rider University. Coach Taylor has always emphasized the importance of developing the complete student-athlete and demanding that his athletes be good, productive members of the community. I could not be more proud to have been associated with Coach Taylor throughout his tenure as the head coach at Rider University."
Quote from John Hangey on becoming the new head coach
"I am extremely thankful for the opportunity and the trust placed in me by Rider University and Athletic Director Don Harnum to be named the next head coach for the wrestling program. Rider University is a very special place to me and I will work tirelessly to represent the University at the highest professional level. I will expect our team members to be model student-athletes in their representation of Rider University and the wrestling program. I will also be completely dedicated to expanding the successful traditions of the wrestling program to newer heights at the national level."