Florida State University fired head football coach Willie Taggart on Sunday, one day after the struggling Seminoles lost 27-10 to its in-state rival, the University of Miami.
FSU fired Taggart after less than two seasons into his contract. Under Taggart, the Seminoles were 9-12 and missed going to a bowl last year for the first time since 1981. So far, the Seminoles are 4-5 and need to win two of the three remaining games on their schedule to be eligible for a bowl game.
“I spoke to Coach Taggart this afternoon to let him know of our decision,” said Florida State athletics director David Coburn. “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.”
Taggart was hired in December 2017 to replace Jimbo Fisher, who left to become the head coach of Texas A&M University. According to the Tallahassee Democrat, Taggart had a six-year, $30-million contract that included a clause that if he was fired by FSU, he would receive 85% of the remaining compensation left on his contract, which equals roughly $18 million.
Taggart came to FSU from the University of Oregon, where he spent one year as head coach. Before that, he was the head coach at the University of South Florida from 2013-16. His first head coaching job was at his alma mater, Western Kentucky University. He was head coach there from 2010-2012 after serving as an assistant from 1999-2006. Between his time at Western Kentucky, he was at Stanford University as an assistant coach from 2007-2009.
Taggart had big shoes to fill when he took the job. Florida State had only two full-time coaches from 1976 to 2017 – Fisher from 2010 to 2019, and legendary coach Bobby Bowden, who served 37 years as head coach. Both won national championships during their time at FSU.
Defensive line coach Odell Haggins, a 26-year veteran of the FSU coaching staff, will serve as the interim head coach for the rest of 2019. Haggins was interim head coach in 2017, when Fisher departed.