The Daily Nole

Taggart Introduced as FSU Head Coach, Has Big Plans Moving Forward

Clint Eiland/The Daily Nole

Since Willie Taggart was born in 1976, Florida State has had three football coaches. He officially became the third on Wednesday as he was introduced during a late-morning ceremony.

Reports broke late Tuesday afternoon that Taggart would be accepting the job. He replaces Jimbo Fisher, who went 83-23 in eight years as the head coach with three ACC titles and one national championship.

Athletic Director Stan Wilcox says the energy, passion, and Taggart’s philosophy were exactly what FSU was looking for. He added that Taggart told him FSU was his dream job, and Wilcox was sold on him the minute he said that.

President John Thrasher, who introduced Taggart, joked about the week prior to Taggart’s hiring, and reminded him that while it might look disorganized and hectic from the outside, the administration had complete control from the inside.

“Some would say it was a challenging week,” Thrasher said. “I’m beginning to think it’s the new normal.”

Taggart started off with his history of FSU fandom. He grew up wanting to be a Seminole and claims that one can’t understand the true impact unless they were born in Florida.

“When you live in the state of Florida…when you’re born and raised here…it’s hard not to want to be a Nole,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to chase your dreams…growing up in my household, if you wasn’t a Noles’ fan, you probably wasn’t staying in that house.”

Taggart said the decision to leave Eugene for Florida State was a tough one, but thanked Oregon for the support. Taggart was a bit on the emotional side when he talked about the support from his family. Taggart said he was sorry that he had to leave Oregon, but said FSU was a job he just couldn’t pass up.

“Usually when you’re taking over, it’s cause somebody got let go…here it’s a bit different,” Taggart said. “What’s our plan going forward: Work work work…we’ve got to make sure that this time next year were not on the outside looking in when it comes to the ACC championship…and the playoff.”

Taggart says that it’s not a rebuild at Florida State, but a “realignment”. He seems to have brought the slogan “Do Something” with him to Tallahassee. He mentioned the three tenets he lives by.

“Three foundational tenets: We’re not going to blame anyone, we’re not going to make any excuses, we’re going to go out and do something,” Taggart said.

Taggart said he wasn’t the first black football coach at FSU, noting that honors belongs to interim Odell Haggins. There is some speculation that Haggins, the longest tenured coach on the staff, could be retained.

“Not only do I get a good teacher, it’s important that we get good mentors in order to help our young men out,” the new head coach said about hiring assistants. “I remember Coach (Bobby) Bowden speaking one time…faith, family, and football. I implement those values…everywhere I coach.”

When asked about the facilities situation at FSU, Taggart said that everything in order and everybody is locked arm-in-arm to get the program to the next level. Taggart said he was open and honest with his players throughout the situation. He said he first learned of FSU’s interest in him last Thursday and received a call from Wilcox on Sunday, wanting to meet.

“There’s a lot of work to be done in a short amount of time,” Taggart said. “I plan on tonight on getting out…and salvaging this recruiting class.”

Taggart noted that FSU receiving great Peter Warrick was a close friend of his and that they grew up in the same area in Bradenton. Taggart also cited the Harbaugh coaching family for his success. Taggart worked as an assistant under current Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh at Stanford.

When asked about his offense, Taggart described it as “lethal simplicity” and that the goal was to score fast and often. Fisher was criticized over the last year for his offense’s slow-paced approach. When it came to the defense, Taggart wasn’t shy about his expectations, referring to great FSU defenses of the past.

“I want a damn good defense,” he said. “We was a bunch of badasses.”

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