Florida State hires Oregon coach Willie Taggart

Dr. Saturday
Willie Taggart is reportedly leaving Oregon after just one season to take the Florida State job. (AP Photo/Thomas Boyd)
Willie Taggart is reportedly leaving Oregon after just one season to take the Florida State job. (AP Photo/Thomas Boyd)

Florida State moved quickly to identify Jimbo Fisher’s replacement.

Four days after Fisher officially left Tallahassee for Texas A&M, Florida State has hired Oregon’s Willie Taggart as its next head coach. Taggart is leaving the Ducks after just one season, where he went 7-5.

Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel reported that Taggart met with FSU officials on Monday in Arizona. Taggart, FSU’s top choice to replace Fisher, agreed to a six-year, $30 million deal per Thamel. 

Taggart landed at Oregon, replacing Mark Helfrich, after three seasons at his alma mater, Western Kentucky, and four at South Florida, where he executed a turnaround from 2-10 in his first season to 10-2 in his final year. Taggart also coached running backs at Stanford under Jim Harbaugh.

At Oregon, Taggart’s team was averaging 49.6 points per game as it got off to a 4-1 start. From there, the Ducks lost four of their next five after an injury to starting quarterback Justin Herbert. When Herbert returned, the Ducks won their final two games over Arizona and rival Oregon State to clinch a bowl berth.

Now, Taggart, a Florida native who recruits the state as well as anybody, is returning to the Sunshine State to take over the Seminoles, who were perennial ACC contenders under Fisher. This year was a tough year in Tallahassee. After quarterback Deondre Francois was injured in the highly-anticipated opener against Alabama, FSU, ranked No. 3 to begin the season, got off to a dreadful 2-5 start. But FSU rebounded and won four of five down the stretch to continue the program’s record bowl streak to 36 consecutive years.

FSU reached the 6-6 mark by winning a rescheduled game over UL-Monroe. The game was initially canceled because of Hurricane Irma, but the game was put back on the schedule last month. With interim coach Odell Haggins at the helm in place of Fisher, the Seminoles won 42-10.

FSU will play Southern Miss in the Independence Bowl while Taggart’s old school, Oregon, faces Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl. Mario Cristobal, Oregon’s co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, will be the team’s interim coach.

“We thank Willie for his efforts at Oregon, and we wish him and his family all the best in the future,” said Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens.

“I am grateful to Mario Cristobal for his willingness to step up and lead our program through our upcoming bowl game. The University of Oregon is a high-caliber academic institution with one of the premier college football programs in the country, and we are confident that we will find another outstanding coach to lead our tremendous group of student-athletes into the future.”

Before this season, FSU won at least nine games in Fisher’s first seven seasons as head coach, including three years with at least 12 wins.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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