Category Archives: Florida State University

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.

Florida State senior forward Shakayla Thomas name added to the Wooden award list

Dimetry Dixon, Correspondent (@DimetryDixonFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) –The John R. Wooden award is usually given annually to the most outstanding men’s and women’s college basketball players. The award’s preseason top-30 list was presented on ESPN and the Lady Noles senior forward Shakayla Thomas was one of the names on there. This list is chosen by the members of the preseason poll of national woman’s college basketball.

Through two preseason games, Thomas leads the Seminoles with 19.5 points per game while shooting 52.9 percent from the floor. Last week, the Seminoles took on Jacksonville State and won 75-51. In that game, Thomas had 27 points and six rebounds. This week the Lady Noles will play an away game against the Florida Gators on Friday at 7 p.m.

Florida State Heads To The Jamaica Classic Tournament

Ashley Van Slyck, Correspondent (@AVanSlyckFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The Jamaica Classic Tournament will debut as the newest college basketball preseason tournament November 17, 2017. The games will all be played in the Montego Bay Convention Centre, Jamaica beginning Friday, November 17 and lasting until Sunday, November 19.

The event is being collectively hosted by Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment, the Jamaica Tourist Board, the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport, and SMG.

The seven participating teams include; Florida State University, Miami University, Liu Brooklyn, Colorado State, Fordham University, Tulane University, and University of Hartford. No team competing in the tournament is ranked in the top 25.

A total of eight games will be played in a battle to win the first Jamaica Classic Tournament. Each team will play either two or three games total. Six of the eight games will be nationally aired by CBS Sports.

The tournament will open with Colorado State against Tulane, 2p.m. EST on November 17.

The Florida State Seminoles will first play Fordham University on November 17 at 6 p.m. The Seminoles will play again on November 19 against Colorado State at 5 p.m. Both Florida State games will be nationally aired to watch.

The intended annual event will conclude with the final game of the tournament will be played November 18, 2017 at 12 a.m., Miami University v Liu Brooklyn.

The hosts of the Jamaica Classic Tournament are hoping to establish the tournament as a premier pre-season destination for the future. The tournament is also hoped to attract sports fans worldwide and promote the Island, adding to Jamaica’s view as a sports destination.

How the Seminoles can still make a Bowl Game

Jason Merry, Correspondent (@JasonMerryFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The Florida State University football team has gotten out to an abysmal 3-6 start to their season and a 3-5 start in conference play.  At this point in the season most players, coaches and fans would think this is just a lost season and there isn’t much to play for besides pride.  Even after this terrible start, the Seminoles can play for more than pride as they can still reach bowl eligibility at six wins.

The Seminoles have three games left and if they can win all three they will be sitting at 6-6 and surely make a bowl due to their eligibility and name. Recently Florida State rescheduled one of there games, that was not played due to Hurricane Irma at the beginning of the season, for December 2nd against Louisiana Monroe.

The three teams the Seminoles have left to play are Delaware State, Florida, and Louisiana Monroe in that order.  All of these games are winnable games, especially Delaware State and Louisiana Monroe two none “Power 5” teams. Florida will be the game that the Seminoles need to play their best.

The Gators also have a record of 3-6 but will be ready to play Florida State hard in their rivalry game.  

Lady Seminoles open season against North Florida

Dimetry Dixon, Correspondent (@DimetryDixonFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) –The Florida State Lady Seminoles basketball team will host North Florida in their season opener on Friday at the Donald Tucker Center at 7 p.m.

The Seminoles enter this season No. 18 in the woman’s basketball AP rankings.

In last week’s exhibition game, Florida State took on Columbus State and won by a score of 102-49. Senior forward Shakayla Thomas had 21 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Nikki Ekhoma was 8-of-13 with 17 Points and eight rebounds. Redshirt senior guard Imani Wright contributed with 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Redshirt guard AJ Alix, who is a transfer, also contributed with eight assists and 12 points and senior center Chatrice White had 13 points, eight rebounds and four blocks.

The Lady Noles shot 56.3 percent and 46-of-71 from the floor, including 8-of-17 from 3-point range.

The Lady Seminoles advance in the NCAA Tournament

Jason Merry, Correspondent (@JasonMerryFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The Florida State University Seminoles headed into the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship Tournament’s first round on Friday. The Seminoles started the tournament 12-6-1 as a number 4 seed.

The Seminoles ended up advancing in the NCAA Championship Tournament by defeating Ole Miss 5-0 at home.  This allows the Seminoles to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament where they will take on the University of Arizona WildCats on Nov. 10 at a neutral site.

Deyna Castellanos scored two goals in Friday’s contest, including a quick goal scored within the first four minutes.  These two goals increase her goal total for 2017 to 17, which is the most goals by a Seminole since 2012 when Tiffany McCarthy did the same.

The 5-0 shutout was also goalkeeper Cassie Miller’s 47th in her FSU career.

Arizona defeated Texas Christian University in the first round by a score of 2-1 also on Friday.

 

FSU No. 8 in preseason poll

Alex Krutchik, Correspondent (@AlexKrutchikFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – Florida State men’s basketball is projected to finish eighth in the Atlantic Coastal Conference for the 2017-18 season, based on a preseason media poll conducted as part of ACC Media Day
this week in Charlotte.

This projection is coming on the heels of their winningest regular season in program history at 26-9. Last year, the same poll also had FSU finishing eighth. They wound up finishing second in the ACC, behind a 12-6 conference record.

The Noles return only one starter from last year’s team, junior Terrance Mann. FSU lost five total players from last year, including three key contributors to the draft. They look to bolster their lineup with fresh faces, including five-star freshman guard M.J. Walker. Walker finished fourth in ACC Preseason Rookie of the Year voting, earning two first-place votes.
Here is the complete poll:
1. Duke
2. North Carolina
3. Notre Dame
4. Miami
5. Louisville
6. Virginia
7. Virginia Tech
8. Florida State
9. Georgia Tech
10. Syracuse
11. Wake Forest
12. NC State
13. Clemson
14. Boston College
15. Pittsburgh

FSU Soccer Notebook

Ashley Van Slyck, Correspondent (@AVanSlyckFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The Florida State Seminoles women’s soccer team head into game number 15 this season against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at The Seminole Soccer Complex at 7 p.m. on Oct. 19 for an Atlantic Coast Conference matchup.

 

The Seminoles (10-4, 4-3) and the Fighting Irish (7-5-3, 3-3-1) last faced each other in 2016 at Alumni Stadium where Florida State defeated the Irish 1-0. This season, the game will be a close matchup with Notre Dame scoring a total of 29 goals this season and the Seminoles totaling 28 goals.

 

However, Florida State has dominated their previous opponents this season, averaging 16 first-half goals, compared to opponents total of five first-half goals. Notre Dame has gone into halftime tied nine times this season, forcing them to fight for their wins in the second half.

The Seminoles and Fighting Irish both have similar average shots per game. FSU averages 15.6 shots per game while Notre Dame attempts 15.9 shots per game. The Florida State defense doesn’t allow as many shots on goal as the Irish. Seminole opponents average 7.4 shots per game, Notre Dame opponents average 10.5 shots per game.

Seminoles forward, Deyna Castellanos, has had an outstanding season, more than doubling the goals scored by the Florida State’s next highest scoring player, with 12 goals this season.

 

Florida State goalie Cassie Miller will be another key factor in the upcoming matchup. This season Miller has made 35 saves and only allowed 11 goals total by Seminole opponents.

All-time the Seminoles have gone 5-3 against Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish, but this season the Fighting Irish have gone 2-0-1 on the road.

Florida State will face the Pittsburgh Panthers on Oct. 22  in the Seminole Soccer Complex.

 

Sports Brief: FSU Soccer

Sean Bin, Correspondent (@SeanBinFS on Twitter)

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

The Florida State women’s soccer team is  10-3-0 two months into their 2017-18 season. The team started the season strong with three straight wins before losing to Alabama by a goal. With the other two losses coming from Duke and North Carolina, the team is looking to have another solid season.

The spotlight is on sophomore forward Deyna Castellanos. Through 13 games, she has11 goals and two assists. Castellanos is also a candidate for FIFA goal of the year. She played for the Venezuelan national U-17 women’s soccer team in Jordan, scored seven goals last season (team-high), and scoring a game-winning goal against Miami.

The team’s next game is against Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Thursday, Oct.19 in Tallahassee. You can watch the game live at the Seminole Soccer Complex at 7 p.m. The team has two more games to conclude this month against Pittsburgh Panthers and Clemson Tigers. The game against Pittsburgh is on Sunday at 1 p.m. at home while the Clemson game is away on Thursday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m.

Season Preview: Florida State Basketball

Alex Krutchik, Correspondent (@AlexKrutchikFS on Twitter) 

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The Florida State Seminoles men’s basketball team are coming off its winningest regular season in school history at 26-9. They were also the first FSU team to ever go undefeated at home. However, with a disappointing early 2nd round tournament exit, they’re looking to build off last year and get back to form.

 
With five players either graduating or declaring for the draft, it’ll be no easy task. Freshman Jonathan Isaac, sophomore Dwayne Bacon, and redshirt junior Xavier Rathan-Mayes all left to go to to the NBA. Seniors Michael Ojo and Jarquez Smith both graduated and went undrafted. With the three drafted players gone, they lose an average of 39.2 points per game. They also lose three guys who could create plays on the court for the offense that was third best in points per game in the ACC.

Perhaps the biggest addition for this Florida State team is shooting guard M.J. Walker. Walker is a five-star freshman out of Jonesboro, Ga, and will likely make an immediate impact on the perimeter. He was the fourth-ranked shooting guard in the nation according to 247 Sports. At 6’5 and 205 lbs., he already has the frame to match up against the defenders of the ACC.

The Seminoles are also bringing in four four-star recruits, center Ikechukwu Obiagu, power forwards RaiQuan Gray and Wyatt Wilkes, and shooting guard Anthony Polite.

Although the Seminoles lost a few key players, they return some that could keep the offensive firepower strong. Junior shooting guard P.J. Savoy, who led the team in 3-point field goal percentage last year with 40 percent, looks to be the main shot-taker this season. Savoy played limited minutes, but was extremely efficient on offense, scoring .68 points per minute. This was more efficient than either Isaac, Bacon, or Rathan-Mayes.
With the loss of long-time center Michael Ojo, the Seminoles look to plug the post with junior Christ Koumadje. Although Koumadje isn’t as wide as Ojo, he’s 7’4″, three inches taller than Ojo. Koumadje is another efficient scorer who looks to get more shots this year, as he led the team last year with a .654 field goal percentage.

If there is one thing the Seminoles need to improve, it’s their free-throw percentage. Last year, they made only 69 percent of their free-throws, which ranked 217 in the nation.
The Seminoles begin their season at home on Nov. 14 against George Washington University.

Fisher is still optimistic as Game 5 approaches

Brianna Biancardi, Correspondent (@BriBiancardiFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) –The Florida State-Miami rivalry continued last Saturday at Doak
Campbell Stadium, as the two teams squared off for the 62nd time.

The Miami Hurricanes (4-0, 1-0 in the American Coast Conference) trailed by three points in the fourth quarter, but the Seminoles (1-3, 1-2 in the American Coast Conference) were unable to hang
on for the win.

With only six seconds remaining in the game, the Hurricanes’ redshirt junior QB Malik Rosier threw a
23-yard touchdown pass to redshirt junior WR Darrell Langham to put an end to Florida State’s seven-game winning streak against the Hurricanes.

“It was a great physical football game,” Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “Unfortunately, they made one more play than we did.”

After scoring three touchdowns in the final quarter, the Hurricanes came out victorious, defeating the Seminoles 24-20.

“Miami is a good team,” Fisher continued. “I give them credit, but at the same time we had opportunities and we just have to do things a little bit better.”

The Seminoles continue their ACC season on Saturday, as they head North to take on Duke (4-2, 1-2 in the American Coast Conference) at Wallace Wade Stadium at noon

Duke enters the game having lost back-to-back games and two of their three in-conference matchups. Despite their record, the Blue Devils rushing defense ranks seventh in the NCAA.

“They are a good football team,” Fisher said. “They are right on the verge of winning all of their games defensively.”

Meanwhile, the Seminoles have increased their rushing totals with each game, posting 203 yards in last Saturday’s contest. Going into this weekend’s matchup, Fisher hopes to lead his team to
victory after their 1-3 start to the season.

“It’s about us,” Fisher said. “We’re all in this together.”
Things to know about this game:

● James Blackman became the first true freshman starting quarterback for the Florida State Seminoles. Blackman has completed 50 of his 87 passes so far this season for the
Seminoles, leading to 602 yards and four touchdowns. He completed 60.7 percent of his passes in last week’s game, which was a career-high for the young quarterback.
● It is not often that these two teams face one another, but the Seminoles have won all 17 of their previous matchups against the Blue Devils.
● Most famously, in 2013, Florida State defeated Duke 45-7 in the ACC Championship game thanks to three touchdown passes from Jameis Winston.