USF gives coach Willie Taggart a three-year contract extension

South Florida coach Willie Taggart started the 2015 season on the hot seat.

But just five months later, as Taggart prepares to coach in the Miami Beach Bowl on Monday, he’s doing so with a newly signed three-year contract extension.

“We are very excited about the direction of our football program and the leadership, vision and enthusiasm that Coach Taggart has provided,” USF athletics director Mark Harlan said in a statement. “I’ve been so impressed with how he has created a winning culture in the classroom, in the community and on the field and he has never waivered from his belief in what he is building.  This extension is well-earned and well-deserved."

USF won seven of its last eight games to move to eight wins and a berth in the Miami Beach Bowl against Taggart’s old team, Western Kentucky.

The Bulls went 2-10 in Taggart first year and improved to 4-8 last year. He entered this season on the hot seat, but performed one of the best (and unexpected) turnarounds in college football this season.

Taggart’s original deal paid him $1.2 million annually. While USF did not announce the terms of the new deal, ESPN’s Brett McMurphy tweeted that Taggart’s deal would pay him $9 million through 2020.

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