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Florida State has fired Willie Taggart

Florida State has fired head coach Willie Taggart part way through his second season.

Taggart was 9-12 overall and their 27-10 loss to Miami (FL) yesterday dropped the Seminoles to 4-5 on the season.

The school has announced the move, with the following from director of athletics David Coburn.

“I spoke to Coach Taggart this afternoon to let him know of our decision,” said Coburn. “I met with the team and coaches immediately after that conversation to let them know of the change. It was very important to us that the student-athletes know right away.”

“I think very highly of Coach Taggart and wish him well, but in the interest of the university we had no choice but to make a change,” said Florida State University President John Thrasher. “We will support our student-athletes in every way and do all we can to return to the winning tradition that is Seminole football.”

“We deeply appreciate all that Coach Taggart has done for our program and wish him and his family nothing but the best,” added Coburn.

Odell Haggins, who is in his 26th year on the Florida State sidelines, will take over as the interim head coach for the rest of the season. Haggins previously took over as interim head coach following the departure of Jimbo Fisher for Texas A&M for the last two games of the 2017 season.

At the end of the release, it's noted that Florida State will "immediately engage in a national search" to fill the position.

Taggart was perhaps best known for turning around a struggling Western Kentucky program, and that's where he cut his teeth as a head coach, going 2-10 his first season in 2010 before jumping to back-to-back 7-5 seasons in 2011 and 2012. From there he moved on South Florida where he turned around the program in a similar fashion, going 2-10, 4-8, 8-5, and then 10-2 over four seasons. At the end of the 2016 season Taggart left for Oregon where he spent one season and went 7-5 before his dream job at Florida State called.

Taggart's first season in Tallahassee and that 5-7 season will long be remembered for breaking Florida State's historic bowl streak of 36 consecutive years with a bowl appearance.

As we outlined in early September, Florida State will have to pay Taggart about $17 million as part of his buyout.

From that piece:

"Taggart’s buyout calls for the university to pay 85 percent of his remaining contract. At $5 million a year with four years remaining after this one, that would equal a $17 million bill for the university. Any buyout would be subject to offset from subsequent employment; but this remains a staggering number."

That $17 million buyout is the second largest for a college head coach in the history of college football. It sits behind only Charlie Weis who was paid just south of $19 million after being fired at Notre Dame.

The opening in Tallahassee marks the second Power Five job to come open this season, joining Rutgers. Keep track of all head coaching changes from NFL and FBS to D-III and NAIA here.

With a rich tradition, fertile recruiting ground, and great resources at their disposal, Florida State will be job that's really attractive to some quality coaches - both those with head coaching experience and coordinators on the rise.

Stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.


Willie Taggart has issued the following statement.