USF’s Willie Taggart Takes Oregon Job, Coaching Search To Begin

USF Head Coach Confirms Speculation As Morning Reports Indicate He Will Leave

USF head coach Willie Taggart will be named later today the leader of the Oregon Ducks. The story was broke early this morning by former Tampa Tribune reporter and now ESPN college analyst Brett McMurphy.

Taggart will address the Bulls this afternoon at 1:30 p.m. to inform the team that he is leaving. It is expected at that time the team will be coached in the Birmingham Bowl by David Reaves, who serves as the associate head coach and has position duties coaching the tight ends

Taggart leaves the University of South Florida and replaces fired Ducks coach Mark Helfrich. Taggart knows the West Coast, having been an assistant at Stanford. He’s recruited Florida as well as the entire Pac 12 region.

Taggart had been getting the Bulls ready to face South Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl. This year he guided the high powered Bulls team to a school record 10-2 campaign. Until the official announcement comes it is not clear who replace him in coaching the Bulls in their bowl game.

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Sports Talk Florida was told by people close to the search that Oregon Athletic Director Rob Mullens was impressed by Taggart in their meeting last Friday in Dallas. After talking with over a dozen candidates Oregon picked Taggart His offensive background and West Coast ties have made him a logical fit in Eugene, Ore.

Taggart, a Palmetto native, was one of the first coaches the Ducks zeroed in on after they fired Mark Helfrich, and the USF head coach reportedly interviewed with Oregon on Thursday. CBS Sports, however, reported Monday that Temple head coach Matt Rhule had become the Ducks’ top choice and turned down an offer in favor of a job with the Baylor.

Taggart has been the head coach at USF since the 2013 season, posting a record of 40-45 over his four years, which includes a 10-2 record and current No. 25 AP ranking in 2016, already the most wins in a season in school history. The Bulls will play South Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl.

His resume includes three years as head coach at Western Kentucky, going 14-10 in 2011 and 2012, which included the first bowl bid in school history. Prior to that he was Stanford’s running backs coach under Jim Harbaugh. He was the position coach for Toby Gerhart, who mounted a strong Heisman run as a senior.

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Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.