Multiple outlets have reported tonight that South Florida has hired Willie Taggart as its head football coach.
Taggart, 35, grew his coaching roots of the Harbaugh coaching family. Recruited by Jim Harbaugh to play for his father, Jack, Taggart was a four-year starter at quarterback for the Hilltoppers from 1995-98. Taggart stayed on after is playing career completed, coaching quarterbacks at WKU from 1999-02 and rose to offensive coordinator from 2002-06.
Taggart left in 2007 to join Jim Harbaugh’s staff at Stanford as the running backs coach, where he was named the FootballScoop Running Backs Coach of the Year in 2009 after coaching Toby Gerhart to an 1,871-yard season in which he came 29 votes shy of winning the Heisman Trophy. Taggart returned to Western Kentucky in 2010 to lead the Hilltoppers’ voyage into FBS, taking the team from a 2-10 debut to consecutive 7-5 seasons in 2011-12. Taggart led Western Kentucky to the first bowl game in program history this fall, as the Hilltoppers will face Central Michigan in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl on Dec. 26.
True to his Harbaugh roots, Taggart’s WKU teams specialized in physical football with an emphasis on running the ball. WKU running back Bobby Rainey and Antonio Andrews have been the Sun Belt’s leading rushers all three years of Taggart’s tenure, averaging 134 yards or more in each season.
Taggart takes over a team that won just one Big East game in each of the past two seasons, and finished the 2012 season dropping nine of its last 10 games. In an interesting note from Bowling Green Daily News beat writer Chad Bishop, Taggart’s contract with Western Kentucky dictates that South Florida now must schedule a home-and-home series with the Hilltoppers.
Willie Taggart had his eyes on South Florida since before the season. He will be the new head coach there. Pretty awesome.
— FootballScoop Staff (@footballscoop) December 8, 2012