Varsity Extra

He built powerhouse baseball programs in the Treasure Valley. He’ll try college next.

Former Rocky Mountain, Borah and Skyview baseball coach Jake Taylor will take over NAIA national power Lewis-Clark State on July 1.
Former Rocky Mountain, Borah and Skyview baseball coach Jake Taylor will take over NAIA national power Lewis-Clark State on July 1. Lewiston Tribune

Jake Taylor won state titles as the baseball coach at Rocky Mountain and Borah high schools. Now he’ll chase national titles at Lewis-Clark State College.

The longtime Treasure Valley high school coach will take over the Lewis-Clark baseball program as its next head coach, the school revealed Thursday. Taylor will replace Jeremiah Robbins, who announced his resignation April 2 but will finish the season with the Warriors.

Taylor will take the reins of the Lewiston program on July 1.

Taylor, 46, stepped down as the Rocky Mountain baseball coach after the 2015 season with more than 340 career wins at the high school level. But he said the draw of his alma mater proved too much to turn down.

“It was a super-tough decision,” Taylor said. “But ultimately, when Lewis-Clark State calls, you’ve got to pick up the phone.”

Taylor returns to LC State after graduating from the school in 1994 and winning a national title with the Warriors as a third baseman in 1992. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant there before making a name for himself in the Treasure Valley as a high school coach.

He founded the baseball programs at Rocky Mountain and Skyview and also coached at Borah. His peers named him coach of the year seven times in the Southern Idaho Conference, and he won two state titles – one with Borah in 2005 and one with Rocky Mountain in 2012. He also led the Boise Senators to a Double-A Legion state title in 2004.

After resigning from Rocky Mountain in 2015, Taylor has spent the past three years coaching his three children, including his two daughters as an assistant softball coach with the Grizzlies. He said that experience is tough to give up, but the chance to return to a place he’s always considered home tipped the scales.

“We’re leaving phenomenal friends here,” Taylor said. “My wife and I have great jobs. We love the West Ada School District. This was just too big of a draw to turn it down. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Taylor has big shoes to fill.

Robbins is in his sixth season at LC State. During his first five years, he led the Warriors to a 232-58 record (.800) and five trips to the championship game of the NAIA World Series. LC State took second the first two years before winning the national title each of the past three seasons.

Robbins announced his resignation to coach Umpqua Community College in his hometown of Roseburg, Oregon. Umpqua will restart its baseball program in 2020.

“(Athletic Director Brooke Cushman) and her staff hit a home run in hiring Jake Taylor,” Robbins said in a news release. “He is the right guy for Lewis-Clark State College. The current players and recruits should be excited about the opportunity to play for Jake and his staff. Coach Taylor will continue to move the program forward.”

Michael Lycklama: 208-377-6424, @MichaelLycklama