It’s hard to forget the way Newman baseball program founder Paul Sanagorski built the baseball program from the bottom up — and now his son, Taylor, is stepping up to the plate as the newest baseball graduate assistant.
“Coaching is in the bloodline,” Taylor said. “I was fortunate to be raised around the game and raised at Newman for my early years.”
Paul created the Newman baseball program in 1978. During the 22 years he coached at Newman, he won 766 games — the most of any coach in Newman’s history — and was the coach with the 11th most wins in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. He was inducted into the Newman Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007.
Taylor said, “I hear the story that he tells all the time about putting a stake in the ground and measuring out 90 feet and doing it again and again where he now has his infield because this (baseball diamond) used to be just a field. For him to be able to literally build the field and build the program is pretty special.”
Taylor said it was his father that introduced his love for the game in the beginning.
“When my dad was in pro ball, I got to spend countless weeks over the course of his season with guys at the highest level,” he said. “I love the game and am happy to be able to get back to it.”
Paul said Newman has been really special for his family due to his coaching background and his daughter Erin being an alumna ’14, so it was natural when Taylor came to coach.
“I’m happy for him to get an opportunity to complete his master’s degree through Newman, which is a great school, and also to be able to coach,” Paul said. “It is cool that he is starting his coaching career where I had been.”
For Taylor, he said his goal is to help get the baseball team back to its winning status similar to the seasons during the 80s and 90s.
Taylor, who was raised in Wichita, attended Bishop Carroll Catholic High School before going to Wichita State University and then finishing out his business administration degree at Emporia State University. Throughout all of his educational endeavors, baseball was a constant.
Due to his professional baseball job, Paul couldn’t always see Taylor play in the spring and summer. But that all changed during Taylor’s sophomore year of high school when Paul began coaching at Bishop Carroll. That same year, the team won a state title.
“For him to coach at Carroll that very first year and for us to win a state title meant so much,” he said. “Just being able to embrace him after that last out was pretty special.”
Paul said he’ll never forget both coaching Taylor and being his father in that moment.
“I was so proud. After the game when it was all said and done, we were on the field hugging each other and I just told him that I loved him,” he said.
Through his time at Newman with his dad, Taylor has seen various groups of baseball players graduate and remain connected.
“The smaller school allows for a more family-oriented atmosphere,” he explained. “I’ve seen teams that have come back that my dad’s been a part of. They still tell their stories like it happened yesterday, and they’re still close-knit.
“I think that it’s extremely important to emphasize the need to create that tight-knit brotherhood and family because these guys spend more time with each other than they do with their actual family throughout the year.”
Taylor said the biggest advice he could give the players now is to enjoy the moment.
“You are only guaranteed one day at a time. Give all you got one day at a time and some of those days will result in your career. Whether that’s in school academically or athletically on the field,” he said. “All you can do is bust your tail off each and every day and the results will happen.”