Florida State introduces Willie Taggart as new head coach

Fortuna In Willie Taggart Florida State found an outsider who is an insider

Gloria James, Taggart's mother, traveled from Palmetto with her family to see her son take the stage at Florida State as the official head coach of the Seminole football team.

As Willie Taggart sat in his home Monday night, weighing the offer with his wife from Florida State to leave OR and become the Seminoles' next head football coach, in walked his 16-year-old son, Willie Taggart Jr., with a piece of advice for his dad. But under Taggart's guidance, the Hilltoppers went 2-10 in their new coach's first season, then 7-5 in both 2011 and 2012.

Ultimately, the pull of coaching the team who grew up rooting for just over 300 miles to the southeast of Tallahassee was too much to ignore as he signed a deal to become the next head coach of FSU football.

It was clearly a price worth paying, as Florida State athletic director Stan Wilcox set out to hire Taggart from the moment Fisher chose to move on.

"Really, really great people Eugene, and a really, really hard decision for me because the people were so great", he said.

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"I guess I wasn't good enough to get a scholarship to play here", Taggart said during his introductory news conference Wednesday. "And he said, 'I don't think it's right for me or anyone else to stop you from chasing your dream'". "We need to put a fence around the state of Florida and try to keep our best players here".

"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my players", Taggart said. Haggins led the Seminoles (6-6) to a 42-10 win over Louisiana-Monroe in Saturday's regular-season finale. The Seminoles will play December 27 against Southern Miss in the Independence Bowl, where interim head coach Odell Haggins will coach the team. He took over in 2010 following Bowden's retirement. Asked how hard it was to leave OR after such a brief time, Taggart said he apologized to athletic director Rob Mullens.

OR started this past season 4-1 and even briefly popped into the AP rankings, but starting quarterback Justin Herbert broke his collarbone and the Ducks floundered, going 1-4 without him.

OR could also promote interim head coach Mario Cristobal to the full-time position. The Bulls doubled their win total in each of Taggart's first three years before their stellar 2016 season in which USF won 11 games (Taggart left before the bowl game) and finished ranked in the top 25 for the first time in program history.

Since winning 33 of 34 games between 2013 and 2015, including a national championship, The Seminoles are 20-12, including 10-10 in the ACC. The Seminoles won their final three games to finish 6-6 and extend their bowl streak to 36 consecutive seasons.

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