Jeff Taylor: A legacy continued

Family and friends of the late Liberty University professor Jeffery Owen Taylor were treated to front-row accommodations for Friday night’s game against visiting Gardner-Webb University.

Taylor was killed this time last year while throwing some extra batting practice to his son, Jeff Jr., after a Lynchburg College baseball practice. Taylor and his son often stayed after practice for a few drills of their own.  While Taylor was pitching to his son, he was hit in the neck by a line drive. After being struck, Taylor said on the field he was okay, but later died at the hospital.

Liberty baseball coach Jim Toman said Taylor was a “fan of all sports,” but was remembered for his enthusiasm for baseball in particular. Taylor’s love for students and sports met in his real passion — teaching and equipping young men and women to be athletic trainers. Vance Pickard, a co-worker of Taylor, told the WDBJ7 news team shortly after Taylor’s death that he “was a gentleman who loved the kids (he taught). He wanted to see them successful as athletic trainers.”

In memory of his dedication to Liberty, his love for baseball and commitment to the athletic training program at Liberty, a scholarship fund was created in his name so that one student enrolled in the athletic training program each year could benefit from Taylor’s work.

T.J. Knoche was the first recipient of the scholarship. In honor of her late husband, Mary Clare Taylor, accompanied by her son Jeff Jr., threw the ceremonial first pitch of the game and also particpated in the scholarship rewarding ceremony.

Jeff Taylor will be endeared in the hearts of Liberty students and faculty, and as his scholarship is rewarded in the coming years, he will continue to enable students to pursue their education in athletic training.

Allow us, the students at Liberty University, to extend our deepest condolences to Mary Clare and Jeff Jr., and our sincerest thanks to Jeff Taylor Sr. for his commitment and love for students.

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