Willie Taggart Reportedly Will Be Named New Oregon Head Coach

Adam WellsFeatured Columnist

Oregon plays Colorado in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016 in Eugene, Ore. Colorado beat Oregon 41-38. (AP Photo/Thomas Boyd)
Associated Press

The Oregon Ducks have reportedly ended their search for a new head football coach after announcing the dismissal of Mark Helfrich after four years. 

Continue for updates. 

Oregon Targeting Taggart

Wednesday, Dec. 7

ESPN.com's Brett McMurphy, citing sources, reported South Florida head coach Willie Taggart is expected to be named Oregon's next head coach. The Associated Press' Ralph D. Russo, citing a source, confirmed McMurphy's report.

McMurphy first reported on Saturday that Oregon interviewed Taggart.

NBC analyst Tony Dungy said Taggart is "a good fit" and "has all elements Oregon is looking for," per McMurphy.

On Nov. 30, Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports reported Taggart is a "strong candidate" for the position.

Ducks Reportedly Pushed for Rhule

Tuesday, Dec. 6

Dan Wolken of USA Today reported Oregon "made a strong play" for Matt Rhule before he left Temple for Baylor.

Harsin Interviews for Oregon Job

Saturday, Dec. 3

Oregon met with Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin about the head coaching position, according to McMurphy.

Helfrich Comments on Conversation with Kelly

Friday, Dec. 2

After speaking with former Oregon head coach and current San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly, Helfrich believes he will remain at the NFL level, per Tyson Alger of the Oregonian:

Kelly told reporters on Nov. 30 that he will not be returning to Eugene to coach the Ducks. He said he isn't interested and hasn't heard from the school.

Kelly did say he spoke with Helfrich after word of his firing broke.

Niumatalolo Reportedly an Option for Ducks

Wednesday, Nov. 30

Feldman reported that Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo was suggested to him as a potential hire for Oregon.

"Guy can flat-out coach," the source told Feldman. "Great coach. Great person."

Oregon Looking at Multiple Outside Candidates

Tuesday, Nov. 29

Scott Roussel of Football Scoop reported that Oregon has contacted representatives for Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley and Western Michigan head coach P.J. Fleck. 

Feldman noted that Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano is another person on Oregon's radar. 

Oregon Conducting Open Search

Tuesday, Nov. 29

According to Bryan Fischer of College Football Talk, Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens said: "For the first time in decades, we'll seek a coach outside our staff."

Rich Brooks, who coached the Ducks from 1977 to 1994 and held the school record with 91 wins before Mike Bellotti surpassed him, was the last head football coach hired from outside the Oregon staff. 

Offense has been a hallmark of Oregon's program dating back to Bellotti's tenure. Kelly continued that trend after he took over, leading the Ducks to three consecutive seasons with at least 46 points per game from 2010 to 2012 before he went to the NFL. 

Helfrich inherited a terrific situation with Marcus Mariota and oversaw his Heisman Trophy-winning season in 2014, but the offense was not as strong in 2016 with 35.4 points per game, and the defense was abysmal. It allowed 41.4 points per game, leading to a 4-8 record.

Based on how the internal promotion of Helfrich played out after Kelly went to the NFL, Oregon was smart to cast its net far and wide to find a new head coach. This is still a top-tier program with a passionate fanbase that will turn out in droves to support a winning team.