FSU Fires Willie Taggart

Willie Taggart has officially been fired as head coach after Florida State’s 27-10 loss to the University of Miami.

Courtesy: USA Today

Taggart tweeted in response, “Obviously, I am disappointed in the decision today as I believe our future is bright at Florida State. Building a program and a culture takes time, and I regret that we will not have the opportunity to continue to coach these incredible men.”

On Sunday, Nov. 3, after two short seasons with the team, it was announced that Taggart’s era at FSU is officially over, to be taken over by Odell Haggins as interim head coach. Taggart had originally been hired after taking teams such as Western Kentucky, South Florida, and Oregon and transforming their programs into something much better than they were before. He is known for being a program-builder. At the start of the 2018 season, the Seminoles were ranked 18th in the Football Power Index. They ended in 67th. This season, the program was ranked 22nd; the team currently stands in 46th.

The 2018 Florida State season was their first losing season since 1976, finishing with a 5-7 record. This season appeared to be going down the same path after the blowout loss to Miami, putting them in a tight situation. Florida State is currently 4-5 and on the brink of missing a bowl game for the second season in a row for the first time since 1976

Although transforming a program does take time, Taggart’s position on the team would not have been compromised if FSU was showing significant progress after 21 games with the team. The issue is that the 2019 season is still seeing a lot of the same mistakes seen in their 2018 season with a poor offensive line, inconsistency at quarterback, and an unfocused team. It definitely did not help that he was 0-5 against FSU’s biggest rivals: Miami, Florida, and Clemson. Four out of five of these games ended with a double-digit loss. He simply did not meet the school’s standards, finally pushing them to a $17 million buyout.  In the words of President Thrasher, the university had “no choice but to make a change.” The school had raised $20 million dollars in private donations to cover the cost of what was left in Taggart’s contract.

Courtesy: Tomahawk Nation

So what exactly does firing Taggart mean for the team?

Ultimately, college football is a business. Fans had stopped attending games, morale in the program was low, and there was little hope of Taggart turning this team around. The program was losing money, and on this track, they would have lost much more than $17 million if action had not been taken.

Wayne McGahee III, Florida State beat writer,  took a look at five possible head coaching targets for the Seminoles: Dallas Renegades head coach Bob Stoops, Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell, Minnesota coach PJ Fleck, Kentucky coach Mark Stoops, and Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables.

Courtesy: @CoachTaggart on Twitter

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