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.
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.