Who is Willie Taggart? Everything you should know about FSU’s new football coach
And then some
ICYMI, Seminoles welcomed Willie Taggart with opens arms last week as FSU's newest head coach. Like Neosporin on a fresh burn, Taggart's arrival eased the brutal heartbreak over Jim Fisher abandoning ship — not that it wasn't expected.
Formerly known as Oregon's head football coach, here's a bunch of other stuff you should know about one of the best college football team's head coach.
He's been a head coach for four different universities for the past seven seasons.
Willie Taggart began his coaching career at Western Kentucky University in 1999. WKU was winless at the time he became head coach. His final two seasons there, Taggart flipped the program upside down, posting two 7-5 seasons and guiding the Hilltopers to their first bowl game in history.
Taggart then took the Head Coach (HC) job at University of South Florida in 2013. When he arrived, his team was a treacherous 3-9. It only took him one season to turn USF's program around as he posted a 10-2 record.
After a year in Florida, Taggart packed his bags for the University of Oregon. When he got there, Oregon was 4-8. After his first full season, he won them seven games and put them back in bowl contention. He didn't last one full year there as he took the HC job at the great Florida State University after the season ended.
His stints have been WKU (2010-2012), USF (2013-2017), Oregon (2017-2018), and now FSU(2018).
He's the turnaround king
Since he beginning his coaching career, all Taggart's done is turn football programs around. Not only that, he turns them around at the pace the fans love —quickly. Although his track record paints him as a dine and dash type of guy, he leaves a positive impression with each football team before skedaddling.
It took two years for Taggart to turn a winless WKU team to a 7-5 team. After posting that for two straight seasons, he took the job at USF. It took him two years to turn the Bulls 2-10 record to an 8-4 record then a 10-2 record after that. His next stop was to Oregon who was 4-8 the season before he go there. In one season, he flipped that 4-8 record to a 7-5 record.
After Coach Jim Fisher's dismal season, Seminoles are lucky to have Taggart. With a resume like his, FSU fans should be fired up.
He's FSU's first African-American Head Football Coach.
Florida State University football has only been around since 1947. That's relatively young compared to other nationally renowned collegiate football programs, like Ohio State's which was born almost 30-years earlier.
Not only have we been successful in a short amount of time, we've also been progressive. It took the program just 20-years to initiate its first African American football player. That seems like a long time, but not on a historical scale and compared to other colleges.
Taggart is a descendant of the Harbaugh tree
Taggart brings something to FSU's table that it hasn't had in a while — pezaz. He comes straight from the Harbaugh coaching tree. He played QB and QB assistant under Jack Harbaugh at Western Kentucky. He was also an assistant under Jack's son Jim Harbaugh at Stanford. The Harbaughs are known for their success in the college football world and with Taggart working under Jim for a period of time, he must have adapted some of his infamous antics.
He's a true Seminole
Taggart has said that FSU is his dream school. When he started his coaching tenure, his dream was to coach one of the three top schools in Florida: FSU, the University of Florida and the University of Miami. The University of Florida also was looking for a head coach this year and Taggart was in the mix for the job. The crazy part? He declined it. Weeks later he found himself taking the Florida State job.
At a press conference on his first day as the FSU coach, Taggart said something that earned him a round of applause from the audience.
Taggart smiles and corrects a reporter who asks about him being FSU’s first African-American head football coach: “Odell is the first African-American coach.”
— Tim Linafelt / FSU (@Tim_Linafelt) December 6, 2017
When asked how it felt to be the first African-American HC at FSU, Taggart corrected the reporter. "Odell is the first African-American coach," he said.
Odell Haggins has been on the Florida State coaching staff since 1994. Clearly, Taggart knows his Florida State football history, loves Florida State football and he's at his dream job. What more could you ask for?
He's a true Nole.
Photo credit: Orlando Sentinel