The Florida State Seminoles had to go through their first coaching search in more than four decades when Jimbo Fisher left the program in controversial fashion to take the Texas A&M job. While their hire may upset some Oregon fans, the school hit a home run by going out and hiring one of the brightest offensive minds in the sport.
The Seminoles have reportedly agreed to a deal with Oregon head coach Willie Taggart. A Florida native, Taggart spent one year in Eugene, leading the Ducks to a 7-5 record and an appearance in the Las Vegas Bowl.
The move was rumored for a few days, but the news of Taggart heading home became officially reported on Tuesday afternoon.
Taggart confirmed the reports to ESPN’s Chris Low.
As for why Taggart took the job, Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports reported that the opportunity to coach his childhood team outweighed his legitimate desire to stay in Eugene.
Oregon’s assumed No. 1 target in the event Taggart left, former offensive coordinator Scott Frost, is headed to Nebraska to become the next head coach of the Cornhuskers. Instead, Feldman reports that they are going to consider hiring from within while also looking at three other candidates with head coaching experience.
For a program that was long considered an example of stability and promoting coaches from within a system, though, Taggart going to Florida State is a big loss as the Ducks’ athletic department heads into its second coaching search in as many offseasons.
As for the Seminoles, though, this is a fantastic hire, as the school is bringing in an incredible offensive mind and someone who has had a proven track record of success. Taggart is 47-50 in his coaching career, but he’s taken over two less-than-ideal jobs (Western Kentucky and South Florida) and brought both programs from 2-10 to a bowl game/winning record within a year of arriving. Considering how the Seminoles program that went off the rails this year, that will be a welcomed sign in Tallahassee.
UPDATE: Taggart’s hiring is official, as the school announced the arrival of the 10th head coach in program history in a statement.