Taft basketball coach Derrick Taylor won’t return after district investigation

Taft coach Derrick Taylor speaking to his team in a sideline huddle during a playoff game
Taft coach Derrick Taylor speaks to his team during the City Section Open Division playoff opener against King/Drew in February.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)
Share via

Taft coach Derrick Taylor, who piloted the Toreadors boys’ basketball team to a City Section Open Division title last winter, has been informed by the Los Angeles Unified School District that he won’t be permitted to teach at Taft and won’t return as head coach, he told The Times on Tuesday.

In late May, Taylor was suspended by the district in the midst of an ongoing investigation. When asked for comment in May, a district spokesperson told The Times the investigation was related to “allegations of improper adherence to District policy regarding COVID-19 testing procedures at Taft related to students involved in some of our athletic programs.”

“While we cannot discuss personnel matters due to employee confidentiality, we take our ongoing commitment to students very seriously,” a district spokesperson wrote in a statement to The Times. “This includes conducting appropriate investigations when concerns are raised and ensuring personnel actions are taken in accordance with Los Angeles Unified policy.”


Taft boys’ basketball coach Derrick Taylor is currently under investigation by the LAUSD and has been suspended since Thursday, he told The L.A. Times.

May 27, 2023

Taylor is one of the most decorated coaches in City Section basketball history, notching his 500th coaching win last year as part of the City-winning season. But the last two months have been tumultuous, with many in the Taft community showing support for Taylor.

On May 18, according to now-graduated senior and University of San Diego commit Keyon Kensie Jr., players watched as Taylor had his school keys taken by Principal Daniel Steiner. Kenyatta Niles, an assistant coach and father of Taft player Souljah Niles, then said he saw a security cart trailing Taylor until he left campus.

Steiner referred The Times to a district spokesperson when asked for comment.

In the following few days, a group of Taft students held a walkout to protest Taylor’s suspension.

“Coach Taylor’s like a damn mayor, man,” said Niles of Taylor’s impact on the school.

Taylor said he’s now looking for assistant coaching jobs with other programs.