The Return of Coach Michael ‘Acey’ Ensor & Mickey Taylor

Published 2:02 pm Thursday, June 6, 2024

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By C.Y. Peters

Unaka High School’s baseball field is buzzing with anticipation, the energy palpable as news has spread like wildfire – Michael “Acey” Ensor is returning to the diamond as head baseball coach. The once-familiar sight of Ensor in the coaches’ box is a thrilling prospect for the community, sparking memories of past glories and igniting hopes for future triumphs.

Principal Mike Ensor has spent several years away from coaching, dedicating his time to administrative duties. But the pull of the game he loved has never faded. When the opportunity arose to step back into his old role, Ensor knew it was time to return. His first call after the appointment was confirmed was to his longtime friend and fellow mentor, Mickey Taylor. “Guess who’s back in the game?” Ensor said, the excitement clear in his voice. Taylor, who had shared many victories and challenges with Ensor over the years, didn’t hesitate for a moment. “I’ll be right beside you, Mike,” he replied. It is a reunion that feels as inevitable as it is momentous.

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Both Ensor and Taylor are legends in Unaka sports. Their shared history went back to their own high school days, where they had dominated the baseball field as three-time All-Conference players. Taylor had been an MVP for three consecutive years, batting an astounding .618 in his final season and winning eight games as a pitcher.

Ensor, known for his strategic acumen and leadership, has led seven Unaka baseball teams to the TSSAA State tournaments. Their mastery wasn’t confined to baseball alone. In football, Coach Taylor’s 1991 team had achieved a historic seven-win season, a first since 1959. Ensor, ever the competitor, broke that record in 2004 with a stellar 9-2 season, only falling to Cloudland in the regular season and Coalfield in the playoffs.

Their contributions to Unaka sports earned them both induction into the Carter County Sports Hall of Fame in 2019. As the new season approaches, the Unaka Rangers’ excitement is tinged with nostalgia and hope. Ensor and Taylor’s return is more than just a homecoming; it is like a rekindling of a storied legacy. The two coaches will waste no time in preparing for the season, their synergy as strong as ever. Practices will be intense but rewarding, with every player feeling the weight of the history they are now a part of.

Ensor’s strategic mind and Taylor’s motivational skillness complements each other perfectly. They will focus on fundamentals, ensuring the team is well-rounded and disciplined. But more than that, they will instill a sense of pride and unity that had defined their own playing and coaching careers.

March will arrive with a crisp breeze, the perfect setting for a new beginning. The stands will be packed, a testament to the community’s support and anticipation. As the team will take the field for the first game, the sight of Ensor and Taylor standing side by side in the dugout will draw cheers from the crowd.

Ensor’s tactical calls are sharp, and Taylor’s encouragement is relentless. It is just the beginning, but the return of Coach Michael “Acey” Ensor to the diamond has already made a profound impact. For Unaka High School, this season isn’t just about winning games; it is about honoring a legacy and building a future. With Ensor and Taylor at the helm, the Rangers are ready to write a new chapter in their storied history.