Florida Atlantic has reached an agreement with Willie Taggart to be its new football coach, replacing Lane Kiffin, said a person familiar with the negotiations.
Taggart will be introduced to the FAU community in a news conference on Thursday, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the hiring has not been finalized. University officials were still going over final details of what will become Taggart’s contract late Wednesday.
Kiffin was 26-13 in three seasons at FAU, winning two Conference USA championships and breathing new life into a moribund program before leaving last week to take over at Mississippi. His hiring in 2016 was a splashy one, after past stints as a head coach — at Tennessee and with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders — didn’t work out as he hoped.
Taggart could use a similar resume revival. He’s been to one bowl game in 10 seasons as a head coach, with a 56-62 record. Florida State fired him in November after a 27-10 loss to Miami.
Taggart is the third prominent coach who was at a Power 5 school this season, got fired and then found his next opportunity relatively quickly.
Chad Morris was fired at Arkansas, then hired as Auburn’s offensive coordinator. Matt Luke was fired at Ole Miss, then got hired as associate head coach at Georgia.
And now Taggart is at FAU, which will be his fourth school in less than four years.
He was at South Florida from 2013 through 2016, then Oregon in 2017, Florida State for the last two seasons and now takes over as Kiffin’s replacement with about a week left until early signing day.
Taggart started his career as a head coach at Western Kentucky, going 16-20 in three seasons. He was 24-25 in four seasons at USF, 7-5 in his lone season at Oregon and 9-12 in parts of two seasons at Florida State.
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