TAMPA, Fla. — Well nieces and nephews your old uncle is reminded once again that, NCAA college football is a big and heartless business and sometime the rich get richer and the middle-of-the-road programs are rewarded with what is left over of the money pie.
Now don’t miss understand your old stand-in-the-line banking uncle, he believes that there is nothing wrong with making more money.
What Uncle Mel is upset about this business deal is the timing of the decision by all parties involved.
What was the rush?
Why were the folks in-charge from the University of Oregon in such dog-gone hurry?
How come they couldn’t wait until after USF played the bowl game?
Former University of South Florida football coach Willie Taggart with tears falling from his brown eyes, he stood behind the podium, he spoke to his former players among the sniffles, voice cracking and then he waved good bye to the warm Florida sunshine and boarded the plane heading west to the overcast skies of Eugene, Oregon.
Taggart officially took over his duties as the University of Oregon football coach, Thursday Dec.8, taking the five-year contract reportedly worth $3.2 million and he is not wasting time looking back toward Tampa. With Taggart leaving, University of South Florida Athletic Director Mark Harlan now has job vacancy to fill.
Harlan promoted University of South Florida offensive co-coordinator T.J. Weist to interim head coach for the Bulls.
Weist is not a stranger to the title of interim coach as he held that position for the final eight games of the 2013, season at the University of Connecticut.
Weist arrived Dec. 8, in Birmingham, Alabama for the Introductory Press Conference held at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and politely spoke to the media.
“It’s an honor and privilege to be here and represent the University of South Florida,” Weist said. “We have a great university and a great program that is on the rise.”
That’s right the Bulls are on the way up because the USF offense can be a night-mare with the one-two combination of running back Marlon Mack and the American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year, USF junior quarterback Quinton Flowers.
Weist has a claim, that he did have a hand and he help the USF offense to become the No.5 team in rushing the football and No.7 in the nation scoring 43.6 points a game.
“Our guys have great confidence in each other and their playmaking ability, their ability to execute the offense and to adjust to the defense that they give us,” Weist said. “It’s going to be a big challenge. That is going to be one of the best defense we’ve faced.”
Weist sounds like he is the man-in-charge of a football team that is on the rise.
Uncle Mel just can’t help but feel a little sad for Flowers and the rest of the USF players, after all Taggart said many times that he had spent a lot of time with Flowers, the players and that they developed a trust, a relationship.
A happy quarterback makes a coach’s life happy and profitable!
Sadly, not happy enough to stay with Flowers and coach the Bulls in Birmingham, Alabama because the good old folks from Oregon had a special point to prove.
What is the point?
The point is just a simple bottom line of $3.2 million and that point is sharp enough to lodge in any bodies wallet.
Your old uncle does not see or could imagine if the football shoe was on the other foot.
Would the University of Oregon allow their coach to skip out of town before a bowl game?
A good question to ask Harlan, when did he know about the interest in Taggart by Oregon?
Now your old uncle is not an expert at manners but weren’t the good folks from Oregon obliged to contact the University of South Florida and inquire to seek permission to talk to Taggart.
Now nieces and nephews you know your old buddy and pal does not like to cast despair but this is just not right!
Imagine if you dare and picture the scene as Taggart arriving at the team banquet Monday Dec. 5, stand with his former players, smiling take a few pictures and then hand out team awards knowing that he is already packed, office cleaned out and he is ready to leave this team hanging, like laundry on a clothes line.
How could he look them in the eye and not flinch?
This football program’s development is a product of all the blood, sweat, tears and believing in the philosophy preached by Taggart.
These players produce while working hard during practice and ending the season with a 10-2 record, it seems to your old uncle that Taggart is cashing in on all of the Bulls’ hard work in spite of his philosophy about being a team.
Taggart’s leaving the University of South Florida was unavoidable after all success means a chance to move onward to a bigger program with a bigger paycheck but now Taggart will have bigger headaches.
Taggart should have done the right thing in showing that his philosophy is worth as much as his $3.2 million payday.
He should have told the University of Oregon that he would be available after the Birmingham Bowl, Friday Dec. 30 and they could have lunch, they can talk, make plans but until then give the University of South Florida a chance to play in the bowl game without any distraction.
That would have been the right thing to do but Uncle Mel is guessing that $3.2 million will make you forget the right thing to do.
The words that Taggart would speak in describing his football philosophy-now just seemed like empty words falling silently to the ground and vanishing in the air like the Oregon mist.
Uncle Mel will be interested to see if Taggart travels to Birmingham, spend some of that $3.2 million and purchase a ticket or will he be too busy at his new home in Oregon.
It is okay that Taggart wants to provide for his family after all he is a man, a husband and a daddy but he also in many occasions he included the players of the University of South Florida as part of his family.
The timing is the question but the answer never be available because like business the clock ticking and it is just another reminder that time is money and in the business of NCAA Division 1 football-money is time!
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.