Reports from both Matt Fortuna at The Athletic and the Tallahassee Democrat confirm that Florida State has fired Willie Taggart. The school’s administration made the decision to pull the plug less than two years after he was hired. The Noles loss Saturday to in-state rival Miami apparently was the frosting on the cake.
Athletic Director David Coburn informed Taggart and then players and coaches immediately thereafter. “We deeply appreciate all that Coach Taggart has done for our program and wish him and his family nothing but the best.”
The Seminoles will end up owing Taggart a bit over $18 million. He had four years remaining on his contract. The Tallahassee Democrat reports he will receive 85% of his remaining salary.
Taggart came to Florida State after coaching at Oregon for a year. He was previously at South Florida for four seasons. He took over from Jimbo Fisher who followed Bobby Bowden.
The recent calls for Taggart to be replaced were in no small part because of the team’s record. The Seminoles had a 0-5 record against Miami, Florida and ACC Atlantic Division rival Clemson. Last year’s 5-7 record was the first losing season since 1976. It resulted in the Noles missing a bowl game for the first time since 1981.
“I think very highly of Coach Taggart and wish him well, but in the interest of the university we had no choice but to make a change,” said Florida State University President John Thrasher. “We will support our student-athletes in every way and do all we can to return to the winning tradition that is Seminoles football.”
The school has raised about $20 million in private donations to buy out what was left of Taggart’s contract. That according to reports from ESPN’s Mark Schlabach.
Long-time Florida State football staff member, Odell Haggins has been named interim coach.
Jim Quist is Managing Editor of ACC Nation and Co-Host of ACC Nation Podcast. He’s a member of NSMA (National Sports Media Association), FWAA (Football Writers Association of America) and USBWA (U.S. Basketball Writers Association). Follow him on Twitter @ACCTheQ.