When he came to North Dakota State University in the summer of 2001, Gene Taylor inherited a department surrounded by a whirlwind of questions.
In his first year as the director of athletics at North Dakota State, Taylor was asked to spearhead a comprehensive study and evaluation of the Bison athletic department. He has guided the athletics program through the unpredictable waters of reclassification to NCAA Division I from Division II.
One of most important pieces of the transition was securing conference affiliations for all 16 sports. The Bison are currently members of The Summit League, Missouri Valley Football Conference and Western Wrestling Conference.
Taylor also played an instrumental part of forming the Great West Football Conference in February 2004, an affiliation that gave the Bison football program an immediate home in Division I. He served as chair of the coaches committee.
The Bison football team won the 2011 FCS National Championship in their
second playoff appearance. The NDSU men’s basketball, women’s volleyball and
softball programs have qualified for NCAA national tournaments capped off by
softball advancing to the 2009 Super Regional. Individuals representing the
Bison women’s golf, track and field, and wrestling teams have competed at NCAA
Also on the reclassification checklist: fundraising. The NDSU athletics budget has tripled from $5 million in
Taylor’s first year to $15 million, while the scholarship endowment has grown
to $11.2 million, and Team Makers booster club support has went from $750,000 to
$2.3 million. The athletics program is two-thirds of the way in the $32 million
Building the Competitive Edge campaign to construct the Sanford Health Athletic
Twice Taylor has been recognized for his success by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. He was selected as the FCS Central Region AD of the Year in June 2008 and June 2012.
Taylor received the Blue Key Honor Society Doctor of Service Award, one of the most prestigious honors a NDSU faculty member can be bestowed in April 2012.
A student assistant to the associate athletic director in his undergraduate days at Arizona State University, Taylor came to NDSU after a 15-year stint at Navy (1986-2001) as an administrative assistant, assistant ticket manager, ticket manager, assistant athletic director for tickets and operations, and associate athletic director.
Taylor is a 1980 business management graduate of Arizona State, and he received his master’s degree in sports administration in 1985 from St. Thomas University in Florida.
He worked in the ticket office at Southern Methodist University in 1985-86 directly before joining the Naval Academy and was in the private restaurant business before that for five years. His tenure at Navy included serving as the commissioner of the five-team Collegiate Sprint Football League that includes Army, Navy, Penn, Princeton and Cornell.
Taylor and his wife, Cathy, are the parents of a daughter, Casey, and a son, Jared.