Florida State got their man. And it would be easy to take a shot at Tennessee here and point out that yet another vacancy that opened after theirs opened has been filled, but I won’t do that. Because that’s not what I’m about.
I’m all about focusing on the positive and the positive is that Willie Taggart comes to Tallahassee and I’ll be damned if I don’t really like that hire. He turned around Western Kentucky and South Florida, and then changed the energy at Oregon. And no, it’s not ideal that he’s leaving the Ducks after just one season. I’m guessing if he could’ve drawn it up, it would’ve been a lot different than this. And I’d be shocked if his plan when he left South Florida was to go to Oregon for a year and then come back to Florida.
But that’s what this is about – coming back to Florida. And getting the chance to take over the program that he grew up rooting for back when Warrick Dunn and Amp Lee were killing it for the Noles. He knows how to recruit, he knows how to develop a culture, and he knows how to win.
I can’t guarantee that he’ll be a success at Florida State and start stacking rings, because you can’t guarantee that with anyone. Unless your name is Saban, Swinney, or Meyer, there’s always going to be some level of question about whether you can reach the ultimate goal, but I can guarantee that he will immediately inject some much-needed enthusiasm and energy into an FSU program that mysteriously had none.
He’s a Florida guy with Florida roots and family back in Florida that he was 3,000 miles away from. And that had to be especially painful when his father passed away a few months ago. So no, I’m not going to bash him for leaving Oregon after a year. Again, it’s not ideal, for him or for Oregon. But if you’re wanting to compare Willie Taggart to Lane Kiffin, then you don’t really know much about Willie Taggart.
The Florida State job has been open twice in the last four decades. If you don’t take it now, you might never get another shot.
Don’t get me wrong. It sucks for the Ducks. And if I was an Oregon fan, I’d be pissed right now. You landed a good coach last year, invested in him, started to see results, and then he bolts? And if I was an Oregon player, I’d probably be more than pissed. And while I’m not going to get into the conversation about college athletes and the transfer restrictions that bind them to schools in ways that coaches are never bound, that doesn’t mean it’s not a thing. It is. And if you want to argue that players should have the chance to leave when their dream school comes calling, just the way a coach can leave when a dream school comes calling, I’ll totally listen to that argument.
But if you’re Florida State, you owed it to yourself to make that call to Taggart and if you’re Taggart, you owed it to yourself to answer that call.