2013 INDUCTEE - MARVIN TAYLOR
By Calvin Cooley
For the Decatur Daily
To understand Marvin Taylor's proudest moment as an athlete, he insists that you'd have to know his high school football coach: Morgan County and Alabama Sports Hall of Famer H.L. Ogle.
"We were playing a game in Florence during my senior year," Marvin said. "I got the ball in the backfield and made the most sensational run of my career. I had to have run 140 or 150 yards to gain the 80 that I actually got. After that game Coach Ogle came and put his arm around me and told me that it was the best run he'd ever seen from a high school player.
Coach Ogle didn't just hand out compliments like that, so to hear those words come from him was pretty special."
On June 8 he'll have a chance to add another proud moment to his athletic history when he's inducted with five others into the Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame.
"Honestly, I was thrilled to death when I learned about my nomination," he said. "Being recognized like this is quite an honor, one I'll never forget."
Slightly diminutive in stature, Taylor played fullback for Ogle at Decatur High, emerging as an offensive leader during a three-year stretch that saw the Red Raiders go 28-0-2 from 1947-1949. He also lettered in baseball, basketball and track.
Upon completion of his final season of high school ball Taylor was selected to play in the 1950 All-State football game, where his performance earned him a scholarship offer from coach Hal Self at Florence State Teachers College, now the University of North Alabama.
"Getting a scholarship was an honor and I was really excited to make the team my freshman year," he said. "Playing in Florence was a great experience for me. I'll always remember that season."
Taylor led the Lions in rushing his freshman year, finishing the season with 574 yards as a fullback.
After the 1950 season Taylor enlisted in the military, effectively ending his football career. During his tenure in the service he served in the Korean War.
Upon completion of his service, Taylor returned to Decatur where he became instrumental in the formation of pee wee football leagues in the late 1950s and 1960s.
As an active member of the community he also helped organize the Austin Booster Club, serving as the organization's first president, and served as a member of the Decatur Parks and Recreation Board for eight years, including a stint as Board Chairman in 1989.
"Marvin has done a great deal for this community," longtime friend and fellow Hall of Fame inductee Charles Riley said. "Obviously his athletic achievements speak for themselves but that's not what defines him. He's a great man, a great leader and a great member of our community."
Taylor's athletic prowess wasn't limited to just high school, though.
A scratch golfer, Taylor won the third flight of the 1983 Men's Championship and Burningtree Country Club, as well as the "B" Division Championship of the 1983 Decatur Racket Ball Tournament.
"I've been a sports fan since I was a young boy," Taylor said. "Sports are just part of my life. I've always been active and I'm lucky to still be able to be active today."
Now 81, Taylor still plays golf three or four times a week at Burningtree where he and his wife, Juyne, are charter members. A fair golfer herself, Juyne has won numerous club championships at Burningtree.
"We are an active sports family, always have been," Taylor said. "Being able to share something you enjoy with your family just makes it that much better."
Taylor's family will be on display at the hall of fame ceremony, as his daughter, Kathy Taylor Betty, is the event's keynote speaker.
"I'd have to say that having her here just makes it that much more special," Taylor said. "Obviously this is a huge deal but being able to share it with her in this capacity is really something."
Kathy echoed the sentiment.
"This is a very special occasion for him," she said. "I am thrilled to be a part of it because I know that it means to him. It's going to be a special evening."
A special evening Taylor never imagined being a part of.
"I never felt like I'd get here," he said. "You get to a point where you're out of sports for so long that you just never think about something like this. I'm honored to be here in such great company. It really humbles you."