All posts by Alex Krutchik

Willie Taggart Introduced as New FSU Head Coach

Alex Krutchik, Correspondent (@AlexKrutchikFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) –New Florida State head coach Willie Taggart is coming home. In an emotional introductory press conference Wednesday afternoon, Taggart described the FSU head coaching position as his “dream job”.

Taggart’s arrival brings an end to what’s been a roller coaster of a week for FSU and its administration. The school parted ways with eight-year head coach Jimbo Fisher after he signed a 10-year, $75 million contact with Texas A&M.  Around 10:45 A.M., he exited his SUV outside of Doak Campbell Stadium and immediately embraced university President John Thrasher. He walked through a tunnel of cheerleaders and FSU band members, emphatically doing the Tomahawk Chop as the iconic Seminole Warchant blared all around him.

“I can finally say ‘I’m in,’” said the new coach, with eyes watering from emotion. “I wanted to come here and play. I guess I wasn’t good enough to get a scholarship to play here…No matter where I went, the Seminoles were always a part of me.”

The 41-year-old has been a Seminole his entire life, along with the rest of his family.

“If you weren’t a ‘Noles fan, you probably weren’t staying in that house,” said Taggart, about his family’s die-hard commitment to the ‘Noles.

Taggart coached at the University of South Florida from 2013-2016, and even then, his family had to root for FSU. Taggart described a time when his brother told him that he was still going to cheer on the Seminoles, even when Taggart coached a game against FSU.

Taggart was offered the FSU job after his one-year stint with the University of Oregon. He thanked Oregon Athletic Director Rob Mullins, and said that the decision to leave was hard. However, he said, the situation was too good to pass up.

“I wasn’t going to leave it just for anything because it was perfect and my family loved it there and had everything going the right way”, said Taggart. “But to be closer to your family and still have an opportunity to coach in the Power Five and still have an opportunity to win a National Championship, which is a personal goal, it was tough to overcome.”

He said that his decision came after a profound moment he had with his 16-year-old son. While sitting at home and discussing the decision with his wife, his son walked in and offered some advice to the coach and father of three.

“He said ‘Dad, You always tell me to chase my dreams and don’t let anyone get in the way of it,” Taggart said. “I don’t think it’s right for me or anyone else to stop you from chasing your dreams… I don’t want to leave, Dad, but if you’re going to chase your dream, then I’m going to ride with you.”

Coach Taggart had just lost his father this past summer, and he said that listening to his son talk to him was like “my father talking to me.”

Taggart won’t coach the ‘Noles in the Independence Bowl on Dec. 27. His first official game with FSU will be Sep. 3, 2018 against Virginia Tech at home.

Taggart comes here with a history of turning programs around. Seminole fans might remember him mostly for his stint with the University of South Florida. In 2013, he took a team that went 3-9 the previous year and went 2-10 in his first season. From there, the team improved on their wins with each season, going 4-8, 8-5, and 11-2 respectively from 2014-2016. In his final two seasons, he brought them to a bowl, although he had already resigned before the 2016 bowl game in which they beat South Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl.

Source: SB Nation
Taggart has a career record of 47-50

 

At Western Kentucky, he took  over a team that was winless in the season before he got there, and improved the team to 2-10, 7-5, and 7-6 in his three years there. They were bowl eligible in his final two years, and got invited to the Little Caesar’s Bowl in his final season.

Oregon was 7-5 in his one season with them.

The Bradenton, Fla. native will likely offer a solid recruiting pipeline in the central Florida area. The 2018 recruiting class for FSU is already hurting. Between the time that former Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin was fired from A&M and the time Taggart was hired, FSU had lost seven recruits, and slid from having the No. 11 recruiting class to No. 40, according to Rivals.com.

“Don’t get me wrong, I love you all too and love being here, but there’s a lot of work to be done, and we’ve got to make sure we do that,” Taggart said in regards to recruiting.

He attended the FSU men’s basketball game last night to address the crowd, saying he wants to “lead FSU back to its winning ways.”

After the game, he went to four-star linebacker recruit Amari Gainer’s home to speak with him. Gainer reiterated his committment to FSU posting a picture with coach on Twitter with the caption “1000% #Tribe18.”

Taggart is also the first full-time black head coach for FSU. FSU is the only Power Five school to have a black Athletic Director, football coach, and basketball coach. When addressed about it, he gave credit where it was due.

“I [wasn’t] necessarily the full-time coach, because Odell [Haggins] is the first African American coach here,” Taggart said.

He was referring to FSU defensive line coach Odell Haggins, who took over the head coaching job in an interim role for the last regular season game. Haggins was the first ever black head football coach in FSU history in either an interim or full-time role. Haggins will also be acting head coach for the Seminoles when they play Southern Mississippi in the Independence Bowl.

 

It’s Taggart Time For Florida State

Alex Krutchik, Correspondent (@AlexKrutchikFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – Florida State football’s first head coaching search in 41 years has come to an end, with the hiring of Willie Taggart.

Taggart, 41, was previously the head coach at the University of Oregon, where he was 7-5 in his only season.

Although he has an overall head coaching record of 47-50, he has shown he can quickly turn programs around.

Seminole fans might remember him mostly for his stint with the University of South Florida. In 2013, he took a team that went 3-9 the previous year and went 2-10 in his first season. From there, the team improved on their wins with each season, going 4-8, 8-5, and 11-2 respectively from 2014-2016. In his final two seasons, he brought them to a bowl, although he had already resigned before the 2016 bowl game in which they beat South Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl.

At Western Kentucky, he took  over a team that was winless in the season before he got there, and improved the team to 2-10, 7-5, and 7-6 in his three years there. They were bowl eligible in his final two years, and got invited to the Little Caesar’s Bowl in his final season.

The Bradenton, Fla. native will likely offer a solid recruiting pipeline in the central Florida area. The 2018 recruiting class for FSU is already hurting. Between the time that former Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin was fired from A&M–and the rumors of Jimbo Fisher’s departure started getting more credible– and the time Taggart was hired, FSU had lost seven recruits, and slid from having the No. 11 recruiting class to No. 40, according to Rivals.com.

However, some of the recruits that did stick around are excited for Taggart’s arrival.

“I’m really excited. I’ve heard great things about him and I can’t wait to play under him. We’re gonna bring in a really great class,” said four-star linebacker Amari Gainer in a statement to Nole Gameday.

Uncomfirmed reports also say that Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt will be coming to FSU to take the same role. Oregon gave up 360 yards per game in 2017, which was No. 40 in the nation. Previously, Leavitt was the coach at USF from its inception in 1997 until 2009. He went 95-67, and brought USF to five straight bowl games in his final five seasons, going 3-2 in those games.

Because former head coach Jimbo Fisher was appointed “head coach in waiting” while Bobby Bowden was still a head coach at FSU, this is the first actual head coaching search for the Seminoles since 1976. Taggart was born in late August of 1976, which means he wasn’t even alive when FSU last negotiated a contract with a brand new head coach.

Taggart will become FSU’s first full-time black head coach.

An introductory press conference will be held at 11 A.M. on Wednesday.

Jimbo Fisher Officially Resigns

Alex Krutchik, Correspondent (@AlexKrutchikFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) –Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher has officially resigned, and will most likely be announced as the new head coach of Texas A&M in the next few days.

The announcement comes a day before FSU is set to play Louisiana-Monroe, in a game that was rescheduled from Sept. 9 due to Hurricane Irma. The Seminoles rescheduled the game after their 35-year bowl streak was in jeopardy halfway through the season.

The Seminoles are coming off a 38-22 win against the Florida Gators, and sit at 5-6, needing one more win to keep the bowl streak alive. With the victory, they extend their win streak in the rivalry to five games. Earlier this season, FSU lost to the Miami Hurricanes for the first time since 2009, snapping a series-long seven-game win streak. Until then, the Seminoles had never lost to the Hurricanes under Fisher.

Assistant defensive line coach Odell Haggins will serve as the interim head coach this weekend. It isn’t sure if he will coach the bowl game should FSU qualify.

Fisher, 52, was in his 8th season with FSU. Since taking the reigns from longtime Seminole head coach Bobby Bowden in 2010, Fisher had compiled an 83-23 record, including three ACC titles and a national championship in 2013.

There had been rumors in the past about Fisher leaving, most notably in 2015, when Louisiana State made inquiries with several coaches, including Fisher. LSU pulled back from the talks when money and public outpouring of support for then-coach Les Miles became a factor. There were less credible rumors again last year about Fisher going to LSU after they fired Miles.

The rumors this year started heating up last weekend after Kevin Sumlin was fired by A&M after seven seasons. Since then, Fisher had been sitting on his decision, keeping his thought to himself and away from the media. In the period between the Sumlin firing and now, FSU has lost three commits from this year’s recruiting class. The Seminoles went from being having the No. 10 recruiting class on Rivals.com to being No. 18

The Seminoles haven’t announced who their lead candidates are, but rumors have them targeting Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente, and Oregon head coach and Bradenton, Fla. native Willie Taggart.

 

TCC Men No. 3 In Latest Poll

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net)-

The Tallahassee Community College Eagles men’s basketball team entered this week at No. 3 in the second NJCAA Region 8 Coaches’ Poll of the regular season. The Eagles (3-0) had one game scheduled against South Georgia Technical College during this voting period, which included games between Nov. 6-12, but that game was postponed due to excessive condensation on the court.

The Eagles dropped one spot from last week after beating both Mineral Area College (Mo.) and Three Rivers Community College (Mo.) by 15 points during the first voting period. Chipola College switched spots with Tallahassee after going 3-0 last week, winning by an average margin of 26 points. The Eagles already notched a 72-63 victory against Albany Technical College this past Monday, and return to Tallahassee for their home opener tonight against No. 7 St. Petersburg.