An article in the Fort Smith "Times Record" has created a lot of interest among area residents, as it related to Greenwood High School's bid to hire BIC coach Bill Taylor and his rejection of the offer.
Freelance writer Leland Barclay wrote an article for the "Times Record" on Monday, April 17, stating that Greenwood High School had offered Taylor $70,000 to accept the position of boys basketball coach.
"I stand by my story," Barclay said, when contacted on Friday, April 28. "I received the information from Greenwood athletic director Jerry Cecil, on Saturday, April 15, after he had talked to Taylor."
This is the article that appeared in the Times Record, on April 17, under the headline "Coach Taylor not coming to Greenwood:" "Buffalo Island Central basketball coach Bill Taylor changed his mind and will not be the next boys' basketball coach at Greenwood.
"After being approved by the school board Thursday night, Greenwood athletics director Jerry Cecil called Taylor to inform him of the decision and congratulate him. Taylor called him back Friday morning and said he has decided to stay at Buffalo Island Central. Taylor changed his mind after school officials there agreed to match
Greenwood's salary of $70,000, about a 50 percent increase over his current salary.
"Under Taylor, Buffalo Island Central was 36-5 this season and won the Class AA state championship for the second consecutive season. Class AA is Arkansas' second-smallest classification. Buffalo Island Central is
a consolidated school consisting of Leachville and Monette in northeast Arkansas.
"Taylor applied for Greenwood's vacant boys' head coaching position and went through the interview process. Taylor was chosen from more than 20 formal applicants and five who were interviewed for the position after
Mike Dean resigned to become assistant high school principal at Greenwood.
"'There are others that we very strongly considered and are strong candidates for the position,'" Cecil said. 'We will continue our search.' Greenwood officials hope to have someone chosen by the end of next week and call a special board meeting to approve the new selection."
When contacted on Monday morning, May 1, Taylor denies that he applied for the Greenwood job, or that he ever told Cecil that BIC officials had offered to pay him $70,000 to stay.
"I never applied for the position at Greenwood, but they did contact me," Taylor said. "However, I did go to Greenwood for an interview, with Cecil in March. I took a personal day from BIC and went to talk to them. I was just curious as to what they had to offer. They asked me why I would be interested in coming to Greenwood, and I said I didn't know that I am interested, as I wanted to hear what they had to say.
"Cecil contacted me after the Greenwood board decision, but I did not accept the position, and wanted to think about it," Taylor said. "After talking with my family, I decided that I did not want to make the move.
I called him back to say that I had decided to stay at BIC. I had hoped to be considered for a 12-month contract with BIC and that would mean an increase in salary. I told him an increase here would match what they could give me. I guess I used a bad choice of words in saying match, and he misinterpreted my meaning. My salary here at BIC would be an equalivent to what their offer would be, not a match dollar for dollar, but equal in the long run. The cost of living in Northeast Arkansas is much less that it would be in the Greenwood area, and we would not have to uproot and move, and be away from family.
"Cecil was upset that I did not choose to go with Greenwood," Taylor said. "We love it here and have no plans to leave. My family is happy here and so am I. We love the school and the communities that make up the district. They have treated us good in every way.
"I regret that this misunderstanding ever happened," Taylor said. "I am still in hopes of getting an extended contract and working year round, since I am up there all the time anyway."
BIC superintendent George Edd Holland affirmed that neither the BIC school board, nor he, had offered Taylor $70,000 to stay.
"I wouldn't think about doing that," Holland said. "I would have four building principals very upset with me, if I approved a raise like that."
BIC principals' salaries currently range from $48,828 to $63,608. Coach Taylor currently has a 10-month contract at BIC for $46,333.
"We are very pleased to have Coach Taylor here at BIC, and very glad he has chosen to stay," Holland said. "Our board has talked about extending Taylor's contract to 12 months, and with that would come an increase. The board and I have not had any secret meetings agreeing to such a salary as $70,000."
After Taylor refused the position, Greenwood High School went on to hire Dereck Harrell, from Faulkner University, in Montgomery, Ala.
The next regularly-scheduled BIC board meeting is set for 7 p.m. Monday, May 8, at the junior high library in Leachville.