Willie Taggart Firing Could "Cripple" Florida State

Taggart's firing will be very costly for FSU – literally

November 05, 2019 - 8:39 am
Willie Taggart Florida State

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Florida State fired Willie Taggart on Sunday, thus ending his 21-game tenure in Tallahassee. Taggart went 5-7 in 2018, as FSU failed to make a bowl game for the first time since 1981. The Seminoles are 4-5 this season and need to win two of their final three games to become bowl eligible.

Taggart’s firing will be costly – literally. The 43-year-old had signed a six-year, $30 million contract, and the Seminoles will owe him roughly $18 million of that. That’s on top of the $3 million they paid Oregon when they hired him in December 2017, plus $1.3 million that Oregon owed South Florida when it hired him in December 2016.

In other words, Florida State is in a tough spot.

“This is a school that came into the year talking about how it was financially strapped, how they were having problems with fundraising, and now you’ve somehow managed to pass the hat around to get that $20 million,” Orlando Sentinel college football columnist Matt Murschel said on Ferrall on the Bench. “But it’s going to cost a whole lot more to bring in another coach and another staff. Even then, if you decide to go big and go for a big splashy hire, which I think they’d like to do, that’s going to cost more money. That’s a very costly mistake for them to get rid of Willie Taggart and go forward. It’s going to be something that could cripple this program for the next four or five years.”

Scott Ferrall believes Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables would be a home-run hire for Florida State. He knows the ACC, he knows Clemson, and he knows Dabo Swinney.

Other potential candidates include Kentucky’s Bob Stoops, Minnesota’s P.J. Fleck and Memphis’ Mike Norvell.

“They want to try get a splashy hire,” Murschel said of the Seminoles. “I’m just not sure if there’s a splashy hire out there to get. They’re not getting Urban Meyer. They’re not getting Bob Stoops. They’re going to have to settle for someone maybe like a Mike Norvell or Brent Venables.”

And no, Lane Kiffin is not splashy.

“I appreciate what Lane has done at FAU, but there’s too much baggage that comes with Lane,” Murschel said. “If you’re Florida State and you’re coming off this debacle of the last year-and-a-half, do you really throw a bunch of money at Lane Kiffin just for the sake of bringing in a name? I just don’t think that happens. I think you want to bring in somebody who’s going to come in, take over the program, take it to the next level, get them back to being a top 25 program and get them and competing in the ACC. I’m not sure if bringing in Lane Kiffin does more than just bring name cache.”

Florida State plays Boston College (5-4) in Chestnut Hill this Saturday at 12 p.m. ET.