Florida State has its guy. The Seminoles have officially announced that Willie Taggart is its next head coach.
Taggart was connected with FSU throughout Jimbo Fisher’s prolonged flirtation with Texas A&M, and the ‘Noles moved quickly to fill the opening.
Now, FSU has made it official.
— FSU Football (@FSUFootball) December 5, 2017
Florida State’s release mentions the fact that Taggart grew up as a Florida State fan in Bradenton, and really drives home his reputation as a program builder at Western Kentucky, USF, and even his one year at Oregon.
Western Kentucky, Taggart’s alma mater, had lost 20 straight games when he took over in 2010. But under Taggart’s guidance, the Hilltoppers went 2-10 in their new coach’s first season, then 7-5 in both 2011 and 2012.
Taggart’s stay in Tampa followed a similar script. He took over a team that went 3-9 the year before his arrival and, after a 2-10 mark in his first season, doubled the Bulls’ win totals in 2014 (4-8) and 2015 (8-4).
That momentum carried into a memorable 2016 campaign in which the Bulls set a school record with 11 wins and capped their season with a 46-39 victory over Southeastern Conference foe South Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl.
That was enough to catch the attention of the Oregon Ducks, who were in need of a rebuild after stumbling to a 4-8 record in 2016.
As he had at all previous stops, Taggart increased the Ducks’ win total in his first year in Eugene, leading them to a 7-4 mark that included wins over Nebraska, Utah, Arizona and Oregon State.
Florida State even notes the injury to Ducks’ star quarterback Justin Herbert. The program was 1-4 with him out from early October to early November.
Brett McMurphy reports that the introductory press conference will take place tomorrow.
Willie Taggart will be officially introduced as Florida State’s coach in a Wednesday 11 a.m. news conference
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) December 5, 2017
On paper, this hire makes a ton of sense, especially given Taggart’s Florida roots and recruiting ability. Seven members of his first Oregon class were from the Sunshine State, despite over 3,100 miles between the state and Eugene. He should be able to clean up in Tallahassee.