12/11 18:15 CST FAU hires Willie Taggart to be next coach, replacing Kiffin
FAU hires Willie Taggart to be next coach, replacing Kiffin
By TIM REYNOLDS
AP Sports Writer
Willie Taggart has another chance, and Florida Atlantic's search for Lane
Kiffin's replacement is over.
Taggart was hired by FAU on Wednesday, a week before the early signing day and
only four days after Kiffin left the Owls for Mississippi.
"I'm looking forward to long-term success here," Taggart said in a statement
distributed by the university Wednesday night. "I think our players and the
university deserve that commitment."
The terms of the agreement were not immediately disclosed by FAU.
Kiffin was 26-13 in three seasons at FAU, winning two Conference USA
championships and breathing new life into a moribund program before leaving
last week to take over at Mississippi. His hiring in 2016 was a splashy one,
after past stints as a head coach --- at Tennessee and with the NFL's Oakland
Raiders --- didn't work out as he hoped.
Taggart could use a similar resume revival. He's been to one bowl game in 10
seasons as a head coach, with a 56-62 record. Florida State fired him in
November after a 27-10 loss to Miami.
"I couldn't be more excited to have coach Taggart on board to lead our football
program," FAU athletic director Brian White said. "Coach Taggart is a proven
program builder who will develop strong relationships with our student-athletes
and develop them as future leaders. His deep relationships around the state of
Florida and the nation will be vital in recruiting as well."
Taggart is the fourth prominent coach who was at a Power 5 school this season,
got fired and then found his next opportunity relatively quickly.
Chad Morris was fired at Arkansas, then hired as Auburn's offensive
coordinator. Matt Luke was fired at Ole Miss, then got hired as associate head
coach at Georgia. Steve Addazio, who was at Boston College, was hired Wednesday
at Colorado State.
And now Taggart is at FAU, which will be his fourth school in less than four
He was at South Florida from 2013 through 2016, then Oregon in 2017, Florida
State for the last two seasons and now takes over as Kiffin's replacement with
about a week left until early signing day.
Taggart started his career as a head coach at Western Kentucky, going 16-20 in
three seasons. He was 24-25 in four seasons at USF, 7-5 in his lone season at
Oregon and 9-12 in parts of two seasons at Florida State.
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