Gunn girls' basketball team has a new head coach

The Gunn High girls basketball program has a new varsity head coach, Cass Taylor, who formerly coached the JV girls and assisted with the varsity at St. Francis.

Cass Taylor is the new varsity girls basketball coach at Gunn High. Photo courtesy of LinkedIn.
"I am very excited to have him as a new and leading addition to our girls basketball program," said Gunn Athletic Director Jill Naylor.

Taylor, who last played at St. Francis High under coach Bill Delaney in 1986, brings a wealth of experience to the sport.

"I have been coaching for 20 years," Taylor said. "I have been coaching at St. Francis for seven years and before that I was over at Lincoln High in San Jose. I coached all through NJB for over eight years and I was president of the Palo Alto chapter for two years. I actually coached a lot of girls that went to Gunn, so I am very familiar with the program and the history."

As a player at St. Francis, Taylor was named to the All-Peninsula team by the Peninsula Times Tribune in 1986.

"He played for me when he was a freshman and I was the freshman coach at SF," said former Lancers hoop coach Steve Filios. "I also assisted Bill on the varsity in those days. Cass was, and still is, a great person. His personality is charismatic and was key as a player with his leadership, his intensity and competitive spirit and his sense of humor.

"He was a very strong coach in the St. Francis girls' program. Obviously, being on the boys side, I did not get a chance to see a lot of their games but, in what I did get a chance to see, he held true to standards he set for the girls yet insured that there was fun involved and pride in what the team was doing. I am a fan and hope it works for both him and Gunn."

While Naylor has filled the position vacated by Melanie Murphy, who left to take the girls' basketball job at Sacred Heart Prep, new Palo Alto AD Jason Fung needs to find a new girls volleyball coach and a new baseball coach.

Dave Winn, who guided the Vikings to back-to-back CIF state titles in 2010 and '11, left to become the new head girls volleyball coach at Mountain View. Erick Raich, who guided the Paly baseball program to its first-ever Central Coast Section title in 2011, left to become the head coach at De Anza College.

— Palo Alto Online Sports


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 1, 2014 at 9:27 pm

Now that participating in High School Sports involves a voluntary fee, schools like Gunn HS are having trouble raising enough funds to pay its coaches. Given that situation, they are going to be moving to more stable positions. Without a large, rich set of boosters, Gunn sports is going to suffer financially.

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Posted by Wondering
a resident of another community
on Jul 2, 2014 at 10:42 am

Is funding for school sports handled differently at private schools? Are private schools permitted to impose a mandatory participation fee?

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Posted by Former Coach
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 2, 2014 at 11:31 am

I have coached at both schools, and while my kids were in school, was also active with the boosters program. The "voluntary" participation fee does not pay the coaches. They are paid by the district, and their pay is set based on number of years of coaching experience, which tops out around 7 or 8 years.

The participation fee goes towards referees, tournament entry fees, and equipment. Most sports do additional fund-raising that pays for personalized clothing and occasionally for assistant coaches. The district pays the head coaches only, and occasionally a couple of varsity assistants. (I don't know the football team particulars, but am familiar with pretty much every other sport's funding.)

My point is -- the participation fee is not connected to what coaches get paid.

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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 2, 2014 at 8:04 pm

In the so-called minor sports, the head coach is given a stipend and is told to divide it up with the rest of the coaching staff as he/she sees fit. For example, water polo receives $3500. Divide that up by 4 and you get $875 each...which comes out way below minimum wage when you add up the hours.

This is why it is hard to attract a decent coach top the public high schools.

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Posted by Coach
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 3, 2014 at 1:22 pm

As a former coach at Palo Alto HS, I can attest to the fact that PAUSD pays its coaches some of the worst stipends in the Central Coast Section. It's not all public schools... PAUSD is in an affluent community and yet it pays its coaches stipends far less than East San Jose. Good thing us coaches aren't in it for the money, but I think PAUSD needs to do a comp study and realize they are being VERY cheap.

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