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Taylor named BYU women’s cross country head coach

PROVO, Utah — BYU director of athletics Tom Holmoe announced today the naming of Diljeet Taylor as BYU women’s cross country head coach. Taylor was previously cross country associate head coach and will continue to serve as associate head coach for BYU men’s and women’s track and field.

“We are thrilled to name Diljeet as head coach, and we are incredibly thankful and amazed at everything she has done for BYU track and cross country,” Holmoe said. “What she has accomplished, including securing a national championship in cross country this past season, is something to make all of Cougar Nation proud. But even more important than what she’s done, is who she is. She is an incredible human being, with an incredible amount of character, who has guided BYU student-athletes in important and meaningful ways. We are so fortunate to have Diljeet here at BYU.”

In five seasons since joining the BYU track and field and cross country coaching staff, Taylor has helped the Cougar women earn 10 All-America honors in cross country and 54 All-America honors in distance and middle distance track events.

“I continue to be grateful for the administration here at BYU who have shown me an incredible amount of value over the past five years,” Taylor said. “The support I have received has empowered me to give my best to our program. I look forward to continuing to build the women in our program so they can compete at the highest level in the NCAA. Our success here is a direct result of having the right women at the right place.” 

Accomplishments at BYU

Taylor was instrumental in the BYU women’s track and field and cross country program being named the 2020-21 USTFCCCA NCAA Division I Women’s Program of the Year. She guided the women’s cross country team to win the 2020 NCAA Cross Country Championship while her distance athletes scored every team point in a pair of top-10 finishes at this year’s two track and field championship meets.

This year’s women’s cross country national title marked the first team championship in the sport since 2002. Four Cougars received All-America honors in the championship performance, the most All-Americans on one BYU team since 2003. Following the season, the USTFCCCA named Taylor the 2020 National Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year.

Taylor has guided the women’s cross country team to five consecutive top-12 finishes at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, including four top-10 finishes. In 2019, women’s cross country finished as the national runner-up at the NCAA Championships. The Cougars finished seventh in 2018, 11th in 2017 and 10th in 2016.

Under Taylor, the Cougars have claimed the last three West Coast Conference cross country titles (2018-20). She coached Erica Birk-Jarvis and Whittni Orton to WCC individual titles and her student-athletes have collected 33 All-WCC accolades and four WCC Freshman of the Year honors. Taylor has been named the WCC Women’s Coach of the Year following each conference title the last three seasons.

On the track, Taylor’s women’s distance athletes have tallied 88 of the 94 team points scored at the last eight indoor and outdoor NCAA track and field championship meets. Her distance athletes have led BYU to three top-20 finishes at the indoor track and field championships and two top-25 finishes at the outdoor track and field championships.

At the 2021 NCAA Indoor Championships, Taylor coached the women’s distance medley relay team to an NCAA title and Courtney Wayment to an NCAA title in the 3000 meters, marking the first time a BYU athlete/squad had won either event. Her distance athletes scored all 29 points at the championship meet to lead the BYU women’s team to a seventh-place finish, the best finish since 2009.

Taylor added another national champion at the 2021 NCAA outdoor championships, coaching Anna Camp-Bennett to an NCAA title in the 1500 meters. The women’s team finished 10th in the final standings, the program’s first top-10 finish since 2005, with Taylor’s distance athletes tallying all 20 of the team’s points. Just prior to the outdoor championship meet, Taylor became the first BYU coach to be named the USTFCCCA Mountain Region Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year.

Since Taylor’s arrival to Provo, the women’s distance squad has been rewriting the distance and middle distance top 10 lists in the BYU track and field record book. Her athletes currently hold five program records in indoor events and four program records in outdoor events. In total, Taylor’s athletes hold 48 spots on program’s top 10 lists, including the entire top 10 list for the women’s mile.

Taylor had a combination of seven current and former athletes qualify for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, including Abraham Alvarado, Camp-Bennett, Lauren Ellsworth-Barnes, Orton, Claire Seymour and Wayment.

Prior to BYU

Taylor coached at Cal State Stanislaus from 2007 to 2016. She was originally hired as the head coach of the men’s and women’s cross country programs and also served as the distance coach for men’s and women’s track. In June of 2013, she was named director of track and field and cross country, overseeing the men’s and women’s programs.

During her time at Cal State Stanislaus, Taylor guided All-American Courtney Anderson to an NCAA Division II championship in the 1,500 meters in 2014. From 2013 to 2016, the distance and cross country programs accumulated 16 All-America honors, including consecutive runner-up finishes at the indoor championships by the distance medley relay team.

From 2004 to 2006, Taylor trained with Nike’s Farm Elite Team, an Olympic development program that makes its home at Stanford University. She also served as an assistant coach to Keith Spataro at Menlo College before taking over as head coach in 2005.

Taylor attended Cal State Stanislaus as a student-athlete from 1999 to 2002. She was a three-time All-American in indoor and outdoor track and field as a specialist in the 800 meters and 1,500 meters. She set the school indoor record in the 800 meters in 2002. That same year she finished second at the NCAA Division II National Championship meet and finished her career second on the outdoor track all-time list in both the 800- and 1,500-meter events.

In 2002, Taylor was named Cal State Stanislaus Female Athlete of the Year and Scholar Athlete of the Year. She was also the most dominant runner for the Warriors during that time, earning Most Valuable Runner from 2000 to 2002. Taylor served as a team captain for the Warriors for two years.

Taylor graduated cum laude from Cal State Stanislaus in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies. She is married to former Cal State Stanislaus basketball player Ira Taylor and they have two children.

Taylor was born and raised in Ceres, Calif. She is of Indian descent and grew up in the Sikh religion. Taylor is not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which sponsors BYU. While in the past head coaches throughout BYU Athletics have often been members of the church, it has been a practice but not a policy.