After coaching the Oregon Ducks for one season, Willie Taggart took his talents to Florida State where he was hired as head coach. The Ducks had a 7-5 record under his leadership.
Among his new coaching staff will be Telly Lockette, who coached running backs at Oregon State this season. Lockette, a Florida native, has worked with Taggart for three seasons at University of South Florida.
This will be Taggart’s fourth head coaching job in his career. He is well known for revamping the football program at his alma mater, Western Kentucky University. Before he took the helm, Western Kentucky had a whopping 0-12 overall record.
In wake of Taggart’s move to the Sunshine State, many Oregon-bound prep football players have decided to consider other NCAA options. Florida-grown cornerback Isaiah Bolden switched his commitment from FSU to Oregon in April 2017. He revoked his commitment to the Ducks on December 5 and had an official visit with FSU last weekend.
Along with him on the official visit is prep athlete Malcolm Lamar from Seffner, FL. Taggart had been recruiting Lamar since he was a coach at University of South Florida and Lamar made a verbal commitment to Oregon in August 2017. Four-star wide receiver Warren Thompson decommitted to the Ducks on December 9, he was recruited by Taggart for three years.
Taggart departed before the Ducks faced the Boise State Broncos in the Las Vegas Bowl. Oregon lost 28-38. This is not the first time the former Oregon coach left the helm of a program right before their bowl game. In 2012, Taggart led Western Kentucky to their first Bowl bid in the program’s history and took a coaching job at South Florida prior to the Bowl game.
Although he is known to have a keen offensive mind, charismatic personality, and strong recruiting abilities, Oregon Ducks football players label Taggart as dishonest after his sudden job change. Sophomore linebacker Troy Dye was one of the players who took to Twitter. Taggart had recently visited the Dye family to recruit Troy’s brother, Travis, a three-star running back, NBC reports.
“He lied straight to my dads face in my living room Thursday night.” Troy tweeted on December 6. “He didn’t keep his word to me Monday. Lost all my respect.”
Oregon Live reported on how Florida State had been in contact with Taggart’s representative Jimmy Sexton and with the Oregon Athletic Director as of November 30. The next day, Taggart told the media that he had not been in contact with the Seminoles program.
In his introductory press conference at Florida State, Taggart apologized to Oregon and their athletic director, Rob Mullens.
“I told him I’m sorry. I apologize. The timing is probably not right, but it’s never right when it’s time to leave,” Taggart said. “I wasn’t going to leave it just for anything. To be closer to your family and still be a coach in the Power 5, still have an opportunity to win a national championship, it was tough to overcome.”
Coaching the Seminoles has been a dream job for Taggart and the coach wanted to be closer to his family. Taggart’s father passed away in August 2017.
Former Ducks offensive coordinator Mario Cristobal was crowned head coach on December 8.