Just seven days ago, after returning from National Championship Playoff Committee duties in Arlington, Texas, Oregon Ducks’ Athletic Director Rob Mullens relieved Head Coach Mark Helfrich of his duties. Since then, Mullens has partnered with the Parker Executive Search Firm to find that coach who wanted to be at Oregon, while also being the “right fit” for the future of the Oregon Football program.
Immediately after this major announcement, social media flooded with speculation of who this new head coach was going to be and who was interviewing for the position. Duck fans heard names such as Jim McElwaine, Lane Kiffin, Greg Schiano, Bryan Harsin, and even former Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly (but ultimately none would come to fruition). However, it was clear that Oregon fans wanted a big time hire that would come in and make a big splash.
As the coaching search went on, University of Southern Florida Head Coach, Willie Taggart, started to emerge as the front-runner for the Oregon coaching job after a great interview with Rob Mullens.
On Tuesday, the Oregon Head Coaching search was ended and a decision was made, and today it will be offically announced that Willie Taggart, will take over as the new coach for Oregon.
In his coaching career, Taggart has coached at Western Kentucky, Stanford (Running Backs Coach under now Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh), and the University of South Florida (having an overall coaching record of 40-45). In addition, Taggart is experienced in rebuilding a program, great defensive recruiting, and having a great offensive mind when it comes to tempo. Taggart also has experience coaching in bowl games such as the Miami Beach Bowl and the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.
Former NFL Coach, Tony Dungy (who’s son played at Oregon from 2010-2013, and transferred to USF) weighed in on how Taggart and Oregon fit together by saying, “I certainly think he’s a good fit” and “I had a chance to watch him coach a year when my son played there (USF). I like his style. I think he’s a guy that can relate to the players very well.”
Although Duck fans may not see this as the “big splash” they were hoping for, as previously stated, Taggart has a knack for bringing programs back to life, and although it may be a challenge, fully expect for Taggart to bring the Ducks back to a bowl game in the near future.