Dec. 24, 2014
Report: Oregon/Nike to Hire USF's Willie Taggert as new Football Coach
Perhaps the highest profile job left on the somewhat middling College Coaching Carousel appears to be filled.
ESPN's Brett McMurphy is quoting multiple sources in saying the Oregon/Nike Ducks will announce University of South Florida head coach Willie Taggert as their new head coach.
Taggert brings a strong background and success at each level of the coaching tree. From an Assistant at Stanford in 2007 thru 2009, he moved to Western Kentucky from 2010 thru 2012 and helped the Hilltoppers achieve success they'd never before had. From there he moved to Tampa and USF where he inherited a program with tons of resources but on a downward spiral. His first season the team won 2 games, the next 4, two seasons ago it was 8 and this past season the Bulls won 10 games---the most in school history.
The Oregon job does not come without some peril. Nike founder Phil Knight is the "Booster" in charge and spends a lot of money to give the Ducks the best of all amenities. From locker rooms to uniforms and field Knight's hand is in nearly every part of the Oregon Athletic Program. And Taggert will likely have to answer to him...especially after the disastrous 2016 season which saw the Ducks go 4-8 and get blown out by quite a few of their Pac 12 competitors.
Taggert will replace Mark Helfrich---who replaced Chip Kelly several years ago. Under Helfrich's watch, Oregon loomed over the National Title picture--but never could get past the more physical Big 10 or SEC teams they played against. With time spent in the Pac 12, Taggart was actually the guy who helped get Andrew Luck to Stanford, he's not walking into the conference without some idea of what is needed to win.
According to ESPN's Brett McMurphy---Taggert got the job over Mississippi State's Dan Mullen. Mullen has had some success at Mississippi State, but not on the level Taggert has. Mullen's name being linked to this job likely means he'll have some 'splainin to do to the folks in Starkville.....