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Arcola graduate Taylor Edwards named Arcola's new girls basketball coach
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Arcola graduate Taylor Edwards named Arcola's new girls basketball coach

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Taylor Edwards Arcola

Taylor Edwards, a 2015 Arocla graduate, who played four years of softball and one year of basketball at Illinois will Arcola's new girls basketball coach next season. 

ARCOLA — University of Illinois standout softball and basketball player and Arcola High School graduate Taylor Edwards can add a new position to her resume — Purple Riders girls basketball coach. 

Edwards was announced as the team's new coach Thursday in a statement by Arcola athletic director Nick Lindsey. 

"We are really excited to have Taylor back and not only is she one of our more successful people that we've had come through (Arcola) but her off the field and court success, it is something that we are so excited about," Lindsey said. "She is a great person and a great leader and I hope that she can share her passion with our girls and that's what our program needs. I'm excited to see where she can take it."

Edwards was the Herald & Review Area Girls Basketball Player of the Year in 2014 in her junior season and the multi-sport star pitched four seasons with the University of Illinois' softball team before joining the basketball team for her final season of eligibility

Lindsey is confident the transition from player to coach will be seamless. 

"If there's anyone that can do it it is (Taylor). She doesn't fail and she has succeeded in everything she's done and that's exciting. I know she will do well and the girls will love having her," he said. 

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Edwards helped softball to three NCAA Regional appearances in her four seasons, including a regional final appearance as a sophomore in 2017, and closed her softball career among the Illini all-time leaders in earned run average (3.41, ranking seventh), victories (37, seventh), pitching starts (61, seventh) and most appearances (101, sixth). 

In addition to her athletic and academic accomplishments, Edwards logged hundreds of hours of community service and campus leadership involvement throughout her Illini career and was Big Ten Medal of Honor winner and was a nominee for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award

Edwards' accomplishments off the court were also important for Lindsey. 

"The moment you start a conversation with Taylor, you can see how great of a leader she is. The opportunities that she's had playing at the University of Illinois are just outstanding and being nominated for NCAA Woman of the Year. She is someone that I know we can trust to instill that into our girls," he said. 

Edwards was a four-time Academic All-Big Ten selection (2017-20), two-time Easton NFCA All-America Scholar-Athlete (2018-19), two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar (2018-19), two-time Fighting Illini Spirit Award winner (2018 & '20), Chi-Alpha-Sigma member (2018-20) and won the 2018 Big Ten Outstanding Sportsmanship Award. 

PHOTOS: Arcola and Illinois graduate Taylor Edwards

Contact Matthew Flaten at (217) 421-6968. Follow him on Twitter: @MattFlaten


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