Florida State University introduced Willie Taggart Wednesday as the school’s new football coach. The school is paying $30 million dollars over six years to lure Taggart away from the University of Oregon.
Florida State’s marching band, cheer and dance teams are lined up across the street from stadium’s entrance as a welcoming party for Coach Taggart. Taggart spent the past year as head football coach at the University of Oregon in Eugene, but before that he led the University of South Florida’s team. As the SUVs pull up to deliver him, the police escort’s sirens wail.
Upstairs at a press conference announcing the hire, Athletic Director Stan Wilcox describes deciding on Taggart.
“The energy, the passion, and his philosophy were exactly what we were looking for," Wilcox says, "and for me, when he expressed this position as his dream job, that did it for me—I knew we’d found our man.”
“Never gave up on it,” Taggart says, “and now we're here today and now I’m the head football coach of Florida State Seminoles.”
“And you talk about chasing the dream,” he goes on, “and always wanting to be a part of it, and I can officially say I’m in. I’m in now. I’m really excited.”
A native of Palmetto Florida, Taggart says he grew up in a family that cheers for FSU—and that presented problems when his previous team squared off against the school.
“I’m at the University of South Florida, and we’re playing the Seminoles,” Taggart says, “and my brother—a diehard Nole fan—we was talking about the game and he’s like, I’m sorry bro, I love you but I can’t go against my Noles.”
Taggart describes his Gulf Coast offense as “lethal simplicity”—aiming to streamline calls so players can play fast.
He’ll be taking over for Jimbo Fisher who left after eight seasons to coach at Texas A&M. Taggart says he’ll be hitting the recruiting trail quickly hoping to reassure prospects who are wavering after Fisher’s exit. He’ll also spend the next few weeks evaluating his players and coaches.