Former Judson coach Taylor lands North Central softball job
North Central College has hired former Judson University softball coach Venus Taylor as its new coach.
Taylor spent the last two seasons at Charleston Southern University in South Carolina. She led the team to a Big South Conference Tournament appearance in 2019.
"I loved my time in South Carolina but this is the best move for my family," said Taylor, who has a 13-year old son.
Prior to her stint at Charleston Southern, Taylor led Judson in Elgin to the NCCAA World Series in 2016, 2017 and 2018, while earning regional coach of the year honors in each of her four years. She was 133-80 at Judson and is the program's second winningest coach behind current Lewis coach Becky Pearl.
"After completing a national search with a strong and varied candidate pool, we are excited to announce the hiring of Venus," North Central athletic director Jim Miller said in a statement. "We are very pleased to be able to hire such an accomplished individual who embraces the whole student-athlete experience."
With experience in all collegiate divisions, Taylor also served as head coach at Bradley University from 2003 to 2005 and led Lake City (Fla.) Community College to a NJCAA National Championship in 2001. Taylor replaces Jim Kulawiak, who retired in October after 32 seasons and 860 wins.
"Coach Kulawiak has laid a strong winning foundation," Taylor said. "North Central has a winning mentality and the athletic department has cultivated a championship culture. I think the leadership is phenomenal, the institution is well-rounded and the support that is provided to student-athletes made it a very appealing place to be."
Taylor, who played nine seasons in the National Professional Softball League, was elected into the Western Illinois University Hall of Fame in 2009. She was the 1997 Mid-Continent Conference (now The Summit League) Player of the Year.
"The thing I love about Division III level is the players want to be there because they love the game," Taylor said. "These players aren't on scholarship, they're here because they want to play the game. I love that because I love players who are passionate."
North Central was 7-1 last spring before the pandemic shut down the season.