TALLAHASSEE, Florida ( AP) – Willie Taggart grew a fan of Florida State and dreamed of playing for the Seminoles.
He never put on garnet and gold as a player, but he has achieved that goal.
Taggart was introduced as the eleventh head coach in Florida State history on Wednesday when he returns to Sunshine State after a season in Oregon. The 41-year-old Bradenton native trained in South Florida from 2013-16 before taking the Ducks position.
The press conference culminated two hectic weeks in the state of Florida that included the resignation of Jimbo Fisher last Friday to accept the opening at Texas A & M.
"I guess I was not good enough to get an scholarship to play here, "joked Taggart, who played and then trained at Western Kentucky. "No matter where I go, I fell in love with the Seminoles, until I went to South Florida, that was the first time I had to take root against the Seminoles."
"People say that the blood is thicker than the Water. Not at my house We're playing the Seminoles and my brother, Nole's stalwart fan, was talking about the game and he said: "Sorry, brother, I love you. But I can not go against my & # 39; Noles & # 39; That's how it was. "
It was an emotional press conference for Taggart, who struggled to hold back tears a couple of times when he talked about going home and cheering on Deion Sanders, Charlie Ward and Derrick Brooks when he was little. ] Three days after Fisher's resignation, Taggart met with Florida State President John Thrasher, athletic director Stan Wilcox and board member Ed Burr on Monday in Scottsdale, Ariz. After weighing the offer during The night, Taggart agreed on Tuesday and informed his Oregon players.
He arrived in Tallahassee early Wednesday and met with the team before the press conference.Taggart said he appreciated Oregon athletic director Rod Mullens for give him his first opportunity in a Power Five job, but that the opportunity to train in the school he had followed since childhood was too good to pass up.  "I know I disappointed him and I'm sorry. Probably the time is not right, but it's never right, "said Taggart. This one opportunity was perfect. Being closer to the family and the coach in a Power Five and the chance to win a national championship are personal goals. "
Wilcox said there were several candidates for the position, but that Taggart was his best choice.
" We had several candidates, but we knew that his passion would rise to the top, "he said.
Thrasher said that Early last week I had the feeling that Fisher was leaving and it was time to analyze his options 19659008] "The university is bigger than a person, we are resilient," he said. "Getting a man with the quality that it has is remarkable, especially in the time that we did it. "
Taggart will earn $ 30 million for six years, Florida State will also pay the remaining $ 1,370,122.28 still owed to South Florida and $ 3 million owed to Oregon as part of the acquisitions of its previous contracts.
Taggart has a record of 47-50 in his career, including 7 5 in Oregon this season, has a reputation for rebuilding Western Kentucky, USF and Orego, but believes that reach Florida State is more a realignment effort.
Since winning 33 of 34 games between 2013 and & # 39; 15, including a national championship, the Seminoles are 20-12, including 10-10 in the ACC. .
Florida State ranked third in the preseason Top 25 but lost quarterback Deondre Francois in the first game against Alabama and was hit by other injuries. They won their last three games to finish 6-6 and extend their bowl streak to 36 consecutive seasons. The Seminoles will face South Mississippi in the Independence Bowl on December 27, where Odell Haggins will be the interim coach.
The Seminoles carried out an offensive in favor of Fisher but the "Gulf Coast offensive" of Taggart extends. Taggart's offenses have been ranked in the top 20 in scoring in the last two years.
He also wants an aggressive defense and described his style on both sides of the ball as "lethal simplicity."
"We want to score" fast and often, but let's be really simple when it comes to teaching our players, without confusing them about what they should do and just letting our boys go out and playing football, "he said. , we want to be fast. We want to be in attack mode at all times and make plays. "
Taggart's immediate objectives will be to complete his staff and try to save a recruiting class, at least six players have disintegrated during the last week. the first year that soccer has an early signing period, which will take place December 20-22.
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