TAMPA, Fla. — Tears welled up and then began to fall down his face as he looked at his players and former University of South Florida football coach Willie Taggart said good by and proclaimed his love for each and every player.
After four years leading the Bulls, Taggart was offered and he excepted the position at the University of Oregon worth $3.2 million for five years.
“We are pleased to announce that T.J. Weist one of our co-offensive coordinator, will be our interim football coach for the rest of the 2016 season,” University of South Florida Athletic Director Mark Harlan said. “I want to think Willie Taggart for the leadership, energy, and excitement he brought to our program over the last four years. The achievement of our football program both on and off the field speak for themselves. We have the outstanding support of our community.”
Taggart stepped into the USF program as a coach that can turn a program around. He finished his tenure with a 24-25 record but he led the Bulls to improving records, finishing this season 10-2 and going to the Birmingham Bowl and play the University of South Carolina, Thursday afternoon Dec. 29 at Legions Field.
“You had a plan and you had a vision and we all knew we had to work our butts off to get it right because it wasn’t right,” Taggart said. “It’s gratifying that the plan and vision is coming together. These kids are growing up and they understand it too.”
Taggart replaces former Ducks football coach Mark Helfrich after finishing 4-8 this season.
Oregon is betting that Taggart can lead them back to being a team that recognize as a powerful program and get back to playing for national championships.
Harlan said that the Bulls will take some time but the Bulls will find the right man for the job.
USF wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling kept it all in perspective and said, “College football is more than a business. Any good head coaches looking for a job? We got a spot at South Florida and we are a pretty good football team.”
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation.
I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.