What's Next For Seminole Football After Taggart's $18 Million Dollar Buyout?

Nov 4, 2019

The Florida State University football team fired its head coach Sunday after the team took another loss, making Willie Taggart’s record 9-12 while in charge of the Seminoles. FSU Athletics Director David Coburn addressed the media a day later to talk about a search for a new coach two years after hiring Taggart. 

Florida State head coach Willie Taggart leaves after an NCAA college football game against Miami Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida State lost 27-10, and fired head coach Taggart Sunday. Defensive line coach Odell Haggins, back left, has been named interim head coach.
Credit Phil Sears / AP Photo

“I had to fire a friend yesterday and that was very difficult. I talked to the players as you know, they were I would say surprised and disappointed but not inappropriate,” Coburn told a room packed with journalists. 

Saturday's  27-10 loss to conference rival the University of Miami, makes the school’s overall record 4-5,  and Coburn says officials didn’t see any reason to delay the decision to remove Taggart.

“We looked at the plusses and minuses and we didn’t really see any upside to waiting, we wanted to go ahead and get started with a search. See if we can get somebody in here and ready to go as quickly as possible."

Discord over Willie Taggart's performance have been going since the first loss of the season. So has concern over how much it would cost to buy out his contract. Taggart signed a six-year contract valued at $5 million a year. The contract also holds FSU liable for paying Taggart 85% of the remaining money should the school fire him early. Coburn says it’s something that took a lot of thought before making the costly decision.

“The questions were all asked about season ticket sales, about booster contributions... We looked at it pretty thoroughly." 

Taggart's buyout is expected to cost $18 million. That’s not including payments that may come due if the rest of the coaching staff leaves. Coburn hopes to have the next head coach in place by the time the season ends. The Seminoles' final game of the season is against the University of Florida on November 30th.

Florida State defensive line coach Odell Haggins before an NCAA college football preseason practice Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida State's first game will be in Jacksonville, Fla., Aug. 31, 2019 against Boise State. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)
Credit Phil Sears / AP Photo

In the meantime, Odell Haggins will fill the role once again as Interim Head Coach. Haggins went undefeated in 2017 after Jimbo Fisher left the team before the end of the season.