After a tumultuous two weeks, during which he was fired and then reunited with his players, Kerry Taylor will return as head football coach at Phoenix Arcadia.

Taylor waited a day after Principal Todd Stevens issued a public apology and offered the job back to announce Tuesday evening on social media that he will continue coaching at Arcadia.

“I just let my players know today it’s official, I’m back and I’m leading the program and we’re going to finish what we started,” Taylor said.

Taylor was informed on May 31 that his football coaching contract was not being renewed just two days after he publicly defended his program regarding the school self-reporting recruiting and mandatory out-of-season practices to the Arizona Interscholastic Association that led to the program being given a warning by the AIA Executive Board.

That firing set off a firestorm of support on his behalf from players, boosters, parents and assistant coaches, who were still riding a 6-4 season in Taylor’s first year after the Titans went 0-10 and scored only 29 total points in 2017.

With Arcadia administrators inundated with emails from concerned parents, a community meeting was held last week at Arcadia’s gym, where one side of the bleachers was packed with Taylor supporters, demanding that their coach was rehired.

Stevens, Scottsdale Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Dr. Milissa Sackos, district Athletic Director Nathan Slater and three district governing board members were present.

Sackos took the feedback to acting Superintendent John Kriekard.

By Friday, Taylor was told he could return to his team to take it to Flagstaff for a Northern Arizona 7-on-7 passing tournament. But there were no guarantees he would be offered his job back – until Monday.

After meeting with Stevens, Taylor was offered his job back.

The former Hamilton High, Arizona State and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver didn’t release any information on whether he accepted Stevens’ offer until Tuesday evening’s statement.

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Hundreds showed up at Arcadia’s gym pleading with officials for fired football coach Kerry Taylor’s return.
Richard Obert, azcentral sports

He said that he was informed that Athletic Director Cher Fesenmaier will not return to the school. Taylor said he doesn’t know if he’ll be working on campus, but he’s just happy to be back.

“I think it’s more than normal,” Taylor said about returning to Arcadia. “This whole situation brought us closer as a team and a community. You could feel the energy and the culture hat we wrought here. It’s a lifestyle. It’s growing. It’s going to be something special.”

Taylor said he felt his conversations with Stevens in the last week were productive.

“I think we’re in a good place now,” he said. “We have a mutual understanding. He understands I have a job to do a certain way and it’s always going to be within the rules.”

To suggest human-interest story ideas and other news, reach Obert at richard.obert@arizonarepublic.com or 602-316-8827. Follow him at twitter.com/azc_obert.

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