Saylor named Pine’s new boys basketball coach

Published 6:45 am Saturday, June 4, 2016

Former LSU basketball player and current author Doug Saylor has been named Pine’s boys basketball coach.

“I’m excited for the opportunity,” Saylor said. “I know it’s a basketball community. They have a strong history of basketball excellence. I’m excited to work and be part of that program.”

Saylor brings lots of coaching experience to Pine. This is his second time as a head coach. He helped Christ Episcopal in Covington begin its basketball program. In his four years there, he was the head coach and taught all four seasons, and served as the athletic director in the middle two years.

Saylor has spent the past two seasons an assistant basketball coach at St. Paul’s School in Covington.

Saylor has also worked with a number of players in development, giving private and group lessons. Several of the players he has worked with have gone on to play professionally.

In high school at Ambridge near Pittsburgh, Pa., and at LSU, Saylor was a point guard. He set the then-single-game assist record for the Tigers with 14. It has since been broken.

Saylor talked about what he looks for in a point guard.

“I think a point guard is a servant-leader,” Saylor said. “They’re there to lead and to serve everybody else to make them better. They might score two or they might score 20, whatever it takes, but the point guard is a coach on the floor. Court vision is the No. 1 thing you need. That’s something I teach.”

Saylor has published a book and said another one is coming out. Saylor said there is a section in both books on court vision.

Saylor said one of the reasons he accepted the job at Pine was because of principal Jennifer Thomas.

“When you have an administrator who is passionate about sports and education like Mrs. Thomas, that’s where you want to be as a teacher and a coach,” Saylor said. “She’s about the kids. She wants every kid to reach their potential in whatever it is. That’s the kind of supportive environment that you want to be in.”

Thomas feels that Saylor will be a great fit for the school’s basketball program.

“He brings a lot of knowledge and energy to the game,” Thomas said. “Being a former LSU basketball player and having coaching experience helps. He also has experience of running individual and group clinics. He’s going to help us in the process of building a good program.”

This school year, Saylor had a scare. He was diagnosed with oral caner. He battled through and overcame it. Saylor had eight surgeries over seven months and has been in full remission since March.

“A big part of my rehab was getting back on the court and being able to coach,” Saylor said. “Basketball had a lot to do with my recovery. All of the stuff I’ve preached and taught, I had to live it. I think I’m a better coach, teacher and person since I’ve gone through this.”