Eckerd's Woody Taylor Appointed to DII National SAAC
During fall workouts of the 2008-09 men’s basketball season, head coach Tom Ryan asked his team for someone with interpersonal skills to represent his team at the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). Then freshman Woody Taylor raised his hand, an action that would thrust him to new heights that even he could not imagine.
In January, Taylor was selected as the Sunshine State Conference's representative on the NCAA Division II National SAAC, a position that puts him in a leadership role on a national stage. Taylor will serve in that role until December 2013. The appointment will afford him an opportunity to weigh in on issues that affect Division II student-athletes across the entire country. He replaces Natalie Feller, a former soccer player at Lynn University, who served as the SSC's National SAAC representative for two-and-half years.
Taylor's commitment to the Eckerd College SAAC, as well as his involvement at the past two Sunshine State Conference SAAC E.L.I.T.E. Weekends, has helped prepare him for his position as the SSC's national representative.
“I thought, based on his high school background, that he might be interested (in SAAC),” Ryan said. “He had always been in leadership roles, and that was a perfect role for him as a freshman.”
Taylor has been a member of the Eckerd College SAAC for three years now. In his time as a representative, he has tried to enhance the quality of the school's SAAC program. With the help of SAAC president Bri Smith, secretary Emma Docking, and teammate Wayne Sears Jr., the group has elevated the program to another level.
“As a group we have achieved so much this year,” Taylor said. “Some of the things we have done is improving Make-a-Wish-Foundation donations by creating the Triton Cover this year. Everyone’s ideas and input is valued because together everyone accomplishes more.”
While having the help of others has helped to establish the committee’s reputation, Taylor himself has taken great strides individually as a leader as well.
“I would sit back and watch things happen my fist year; from that, I grew and really saw what happened. That’s what great leaders do,” Taylor said. “They observe and then act on how they could fix the situation. It has definitely helped me with my time management skills and following through with my commitments that I make.”
At the fourth annual Sunshine State Conference SAAC E.L.I.T.E. Weekend in September 2010, Taylor was asked to administer activities and exercises that would enhance the leadership skills of all the SAAC representatives from each of the SSC's nine member institutions. In the crowd were familiar faces, sometimes foes, including fellow conference basketball players Edgars Eglitis (Florida Tech) and Michel Vidal (Lynn).
“Although we battle every time we step on the court, when we were sitting in a convention room, we realized this was something bigger than basketball,” Taylor said. “I went in unsure what they were going to think, but ended up earning their respect as a leader and as an athlete.”
“I’m really proud of Woody,” Ryan said. “He is a great leader. On the court, the point guard position really requires you to be a leader, and it’s no coincidence that’s where he plays. He’s a great representative for our program and for Eckerd College.”