Florida State fired embattled coach Willie Taggart on Sunday less than two years after hiring him to replace Jimbo Fisher.
Nov 2, 2019; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles head coach Willie Taggart during the game against the Miami Hurricanes at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports
The Seminoles are just 4-5 this season after Saturday’s 27-10 loss to Miami, and 9-12 overall under Taggart’s leadership. Taggart has four-plus seasons remaining on a six-year, $30 million deal. His reported buyout is $17 million.
Defensive line coach Odell Haggins was named interim head coach.
“I spoke to Coach Taggart this afternoon to let him know of our decision,” Florida State athletic director David Coburn said in a statement. “I met with the team and coaches immediately after that conversation to let them know of the change. It was very important to us that the student-athletes know right away.”
Florida State president John Thrasher said the university had “no choice” but to dismiss the 43-year-old Taggart.
“I think very highly of Coach Taggart and wish him well, but in the interest of the university we had no choice but to make a change,” Thrasher said in a statement. “We will support our student-athletes in every way and do all we can to return to the winning tradition that is Seminole football.”
The university said it will partake in a national search to identify a new head coach.
Taggart said he was dismayed to be dismissed in a statement released on his Twitter account.
“Obviously, I am disappointed in the decision today as I believe our future is bright at Florida State,” Taggart said. “Building a program and a culture takes time, and I regret that we will not have the opportunity to continue to coach these incredible young men.”
Taggart has a 56-62 record in 10 seasons as a head coach. He came to Florida State after one season at Oregon (7-5 in 2017). He also coached Western Kentucky (2010-12) and South Florida (2013-16).
Taggart was under heat during his first season as the school’s 36-season bowl streak ended. The intensity picked up even more this season with the Seminoles again enduring a season well below past standards.
“I want to thank the Florida State faithful for their support as we worked towards building a program that they could be proud of,” Taggart said. “On behalf of my family and I, we wish Florida State nothing but the best and will be cheering on the Seminoles the rest of the way.”
Haggins also served as interim coach for the final two games of the 2017 season after Fisher took the Texas A&M job. The Seminoles won both games.
—Field Level Media