Florida State football fires head coach Willie Taggart during second season

Florida State football fires head coach Willie Taggart during second season

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Wayne McGahee III
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Tallahassee Democrat
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Published 5: (*******************************************) PM EST Nov 3, (*************************)
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(****)Florida State has fired head coach Willie Taggart following the Seminoles’ (*************************************)-(**********************************************) loss to Miami Saturday.(*******)

(****)The Seminoles (4-5, 3-4 ACC) were dominated in the loss by the Hurricanes (5-4, 3-3 ACC), and the FSU administration made the decision to move on from Taggart Sunday.(*******)

(****)”I spoke to Coach Taggart this afternoon to let him know of our decision,” said FSU Dircetor of Athletics David Coburn in a statement released by the University.(*******)

(****)”I met with the team and coaches immediately after that conversation to let them know of the change.  It was very important to us that the student-athletes know right away.”(*******)

(****)The firing comes less than two years after Taggart was hired as the Seminoles’ coach.(*******)

(****)Taggart put out a statement on Twitter in the hours following his firing.(*******)

(****)”Obviously, I am disappointed in the decision today as I believe our future is bright at Florida State,” Taggart said.(*******)

(****)”Building a program and a culture takes time and I regret that we will not have the opportunity to continue to coach these incredible young men. I want to thank first and foremost our student-athletes who never stopped believing and who deserve to find success. I also want to thank our coaches and staff who believed in what we were building and who are among the finest men and women in our profession.(*******)

(****)”Finally, I want to thank the Florida State faithful for their support as we worked towards building a program that we could be proud of. On behalf of my family and I, we wish Florida State nothing but the best and will be cheering on the Seminoles the rest of the way.”(*******)

(****)Defensive line coach Odell Haggins  will take over as the interim head coach. He also took over as the interim head coach after Jimbo Fisher left for Texas A&M. He is 2-0 as the head coach at FSU.(*******)

(****)He left Oregon after one year to coach the Seminoles. He coached at South Florida for four seasons from (***************************)-(******************************************). (*******)

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(************)Florida State football at pivotal crossroads under Willie Taggart(*************)
(************)Florida State’s administration has a $(*****************************************) million question to answer | Wayne McGahee III(*************)
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(****)He replaced Fisher, who left FSU to take over Texas A&M’s program after eight seasons as head coach of the Seminoles.(*******)

(****)Taggart nailed almost everything from recruiting to fundraising. Everything other than the product that FSU put on the field.(*******)

(****)Taggart had a 9-(********************************************) record at FSU and the Seminoles were 0-5 against in-state rivals UM and Florida and ACC rival Clemson.(*******)

(****)”I hate it. I think Willie is a heck of a guy, heck of a coach,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. (*******)

(****)”But for whatever reason it just didn’t work out. Unfortunately this is the time of year where you start to see some of that type of stuff… FSU is a great program and certainly this is a tough time for them, but no doubt they will be a great program again at some point.”(*******)

(****)The average score of those games was (*********************************)-(*******************************************) with the (************************************)-(*************************************) loss to the Hurricanes in (**************************) after FSU blew a (***************************************)-point third quarter lead as the only game that was decided by less than (*****************************************) points.(*******)

(****)”I think very highly of Coach Taggart and wish him well, but in the interest of the university we had no choice but to make a change,” Florida State University President John Thrasher said.(*******)

(****)”We will support our student-athletes in every way and do all we can to return to the winning tradition that is Seminole football.”(*******)

(****)He is (********************************)-(*******************************) all-time as a head coach. (*******)

(****)FSU is expected to hire a national search committee to help find his replacement.(*******)

(****)FSU will owe Taggart just over $(****************************************) million by firing him in November. The buyout drops to $(*****************************************) million in January. He had more than four years remaining on his contract and will receive (******************************)% of his remaining salary in compensation.(*******)

(****)FSU has lost three of its last four games against No. 3 Clemson, No. (**************************************) Wake Forest, and Miami.(*******)

(****)The Seminoles finished 5-7 in Taggart’s first year and missed a bowl game for the first time since (****************************). They hadn’t finished with a losing record since Bobby Bowden’s first year in (*****************************).(*******)

(****)The Seminoles have three games remaining starting with a road match-up against Boston College Saturday. FSU will play Alabama State on Nov. (******************************************) and will play at No. 6 Florida on Nov. (***********************************). FSU needs two wins in the last three games to get bowl eligible.(*******)

(****)Taggart’s nine wins at FSU have come against Samford, Northern Illinois, Wake Forest, Boston College, Louisville (x2), Louisiana-Monroe, North Carolina State, and Syracuse. (*******)

(***************)What it means for the FSU program(****************)

(****)FSU had to make the call to move on from Taggart despite the large buyout. (*******)

(****)Fans have stopped coming to games, morale is low inside the program, and the belief that he could get it turned around was non-existent.(*******)

(****)College football is a business and the program is losing money because of the product on the field. In the end, that money — and the money FSU would likely have lost in the future — over-weighed Taggart’s buyout.(*******)

(****)It was a tough choice by the FSU administration, but ultimately, the right one. (*******)

(****)Now it leaves the Seminoles will plenty of time before the early signing period to get a hire on-board without worrying.(*******)

(****)Haggins has made it clear that he has no interest in being a head coach, so there’s no need to worry about hurting his feeling by trying to hire someone else while he is still coaching games.(*******)

(****)The early signing period is one of the main reasons that if FSU was going to let go of Taggart, it needed to do it soon. Recruiting is effectively over in December now with the majority of the recruits signing early.(*******)

(****)After the last three seasons, FSU can’t afford not to nail this hire. It has to be someone that the FSU fanbase and players can believe in from the jump.(*******)

(****)Taggart seemed like a good hire when FSU brought him in, but the Seminoles need to find someone with an established reputation as a winner to get the people surrounding the program back buying in.(*******)

(****)(*****************)Reach Wayne McGahee III at wmcgahee@tallahassee.com.(******************)(*******)

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