Florida State Lets Coach Willie Taggart Go

Florida State has fired second-year football coach Willie Taggart, ending his tenure with the Seminoles after only 21 games. Taggart, a 43-year-old Florida native, was 9-12 at Florida State and is 56-62 as a head coach. Florida State President John Thrasher said, “We had no choice but to make a change.”

Florida State has been in a freefall for the last three seasons and is in danger of missing a bowl game for the second consecutive season. The Seminoles have not been ranked this season and needs to win two of its final three games to become bowl eligible. Florida State plays at Boston College next, then against Alabama State and Florida to finish the regular season.

Under Taggart, attendance for games at Doak Campbell Stadium has plummeted. Only 63,995 fans were at the stadium for the Miami-Florida State game last Saturday. That was the largest crowd to attend a Florida State game this season, but the smallest attendance for any Hurricanes-Seminoles matchup in Tallahassee since 1991.

Taggart thanked the players, coaches and staff and Florida State in a farewell tweet. He wrote: “On behalf of my family and I, we wish Florida State nothing but the best and will be cheering on the Seminoles the rest of the way.” Under the terms of Taggart’s six-year, $30 million contract, FSU’s athletic department will owe him 85 percent of his remaining compensation through Jan. 31, 2024, which is between $17 million and $18 million.

Florida State said longtime assistant Odell Haggins has been asked to take over as interim coach for the remainder of the season. Haggins has been a Florida State assistant coach since 1994 and had a 2-0 as the interim coach in 2017, after Jimbo Fisher left Florida State for Texas A&M. He also coached alongside Bobby Bowden, who coached the team from the 1976 to 2009 seasons.