Willie Taggart Fired by FSU; Odell Haggins to Serve as Interim HC

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 3, 2019

Florida State head coach Willie Taggart watches his team before the start of an NCAA college football game against Clemson Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019, in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
Richard Shiro/Associated Press

The Willie Taggart era at Florida State is over, as the school fired the head football coach Sunday after less than two years with the program.      

The decision came after FSU fell to 4-5 on the season with a 27-10 loss to Miami. Odell Haggins will serve as the interim head coach.

Matt Fortuna of The Athletic shared the program's release confirming the decision.

Taggart later issued his own statement after the announcement by Florida State:

Taggart was originally signed to a six-year, $30 million contract full of incentives in 2017 and had a buyout of "around" $18 million, per Matt Murschel of the Orlando Sentinel & Tribune.

Darren Rovell of The Action Network noted it's the second-largest buyout in college football history, behind Charlie Weis, who was paid $18.9 million after being fired by Notre Dame.

According to ESPN's Andrea Adelson, Florida State had also paid Oregon $3 million when it hired Taggart in 2017, along with $1.3 million the Ducks owed South Florida for their hire of Taggert the previous year.

In the coach's first year, the Seminoles finished with a 5-7 record, representing the school's first losing season since 1976. The squad hasn't improved much this season, leading to Taggart's dismissal.

Taggart had a reputation of a program-builder during his career, taking over terrible teams at Western Kentucky and South Florida before making them respectable. He only had one season at Oregon, but the squad saw marked improvement in that time.

However, Florida State was unwilling to wait for a turnaround, and Taggart will now be seeking his fifth different coaching job in 10 years.

His career record is just 56-62, though taking over scuffling teams is a big reason for the mediocre record. 

Meanwhile, the Seminoles will be on the hunt for a new coach who can live up to their lofty standards.

Florida State had only two full-time coaches from 1976 to 2017, with both Bobby Bowden and Jimbo Fisher winning national championships during their tenures with the team.

The next coach will hope to return the program to prominence.

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