The Daily Nole

Hot Take Tuesday: Taggart Brought Traditions to FSU Worth Preserving

Damon Herota/FSU athletics

Willie Taggart’s tenure at Florida State was the third shortest of any full-time head coach in program history as the Seminoles cut ties after just 21 games.

While many have made the case that Taggart didn’t have ample time to change a program facing significant academic and cultural issues, almost no one was satisfied with the performance on the field. In 21 games, Taggart went just 9-12 and 6-9 against ACC competition with just one road win throughout his tenure.

Under Taggart’s leadership, FSU watched streaks of 36 straight bowl appearances and 41 straight winning seasons come to an end. The Seminoles also suffered their worst home and ACC loss ever in 2018 in a 59-10 loss to Clemson and had their largest-ever blown lead by letting a 20-point lead evaporate in last season’s 28-27 loss at Miami. Eight of FSU’s 12 losses under Taggart came by at least 17 points.

While the on-the-field results were underwhelming, Taggart made contributions toward the university worth preserving. That’s not including a $1 million contribution made toward the university’s “Unconquered” campaign.

Prior to the start of the 2018 season, Taggart introduced the Legacy Team Walk where FSU players made their way from Heritage Tower Fountain to Doak Campbell Stadium prior to the start of each home contest. In addition to the new pregame tradition, Taggart also created a new postgame tradition.

After home games, FSU players made their way to the Marching Chiefs to sing the university’s fight song. Prior to the tradition, Taggart said many of the players did not know the lyrics.

Although Taggart never led FSU to a championship, bowl game or even beat a rival, few could deny his affinity for the university. With the exception of at least one notable detractor, players took to social media to express their appreciation of the now former head coach.

As he did following Jimbo Fisher’s departure late in 2017, defensive line coach Odell Haggins will serve as the interim head coach where he will try to win at least two of FSU’s three remaining games and get the Seminoles to a bowl for the 37th time in 38 years. Reports are out and rumors continue to swirl as FSU begins its search for a successor who it hopes will have more on-filed success than Taggart had in his brief tenure. Finding one with as much class, commitment and dedication to the university and its student-athletes is also a worthwhile endeavor.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson. Like The Daily Nole on Facebook. To pitch an idea, author a post or to learn more about The Daily Nole, email Mike Ferguson at

One Comment

  1. tombu

    November 6, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    Improving our academic grade was a great contribution to the program. Without that emphasis we wouldn’t have been eligible for a bowl game even if we were undefeated.

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