FAU hires Willie Taggart as head football coach

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher 

Florida Atlantic Owls have given another struggling head coach an opportunity to clean their image. The Owls have hired Willie Taggart as their new head football coach. 

Taggart replaces Lane Kiffin, who departed to become the Ole Miss Rebels head coach. Three years ago, the Owls gave Kiffin a chance after he had tarnished his image as a head coach. 

Florida State Seminoles head coach Willie Taggart attends the 2019 NFL Draft
Willie Taggart attends the 2019 NFL Draft (Getty Images)

With the Owls, Taggart takes over a program that has won two of the last three Conference USA Championships. Hours before Kiffin’s exit for the Rebels, he guided Florida Atlantic to the Conference USA Championship over the UAB Blazers, 49-6. 

Related: USF hires Jeff Scott as new head football coach

“I’m grateful to Brian White and President Kelly for their belief in me to lead the football program at Florida Atlantic University,” Taggart said. “I’m looking forward to long-term success here. I think our players and the university deserve that commitment. Family is extremely important to me. I couldn’t do what I do without their love and support and all of us are looking forward to being here in Paradise for the foreseeable future.”

The 43-year-old has a career 56-62 record as a college football coach. He is also 0-1 in Bowl games. 

This is his fifth head coaching opportunity. He began as the Western Kentucky head coach, then moved on to the South Florida Bulls. 

Related: 2019 Heisman Trophy finalists revealed

He also spent one season with the Oregon Ducks. Taggart was then hired at his “dream job” before fizzing out with the Florida State Seminoles. 

He went 9-12 during his tenure with the Seminoles. He went 16-20 at Western Kentucky and 24-25 at South Florida. 

During his lone season in the great Northwest, he guided the Ducks to a 7-5 season.

Related: EKU hires Walt Wells as new head football coach

“I couldn’t be more excited to have Coach Taggart on board to lead our football program,” FAU Vice President and Director of Athletics Brian White said. “Coach Taggart is a proven program builder who will develop strong relationships with our student-athletes and develop them as future leaders. His deep relationships around the state of Florida and the nation will be vital in recruiting as well. The traits he brings to the table will allow us to continue building upon our recent success.”

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