I woke up this morning well before my alarm, rolled over and immediately checked my phone, as most millennials do. Squinting through that all-too-bright light, I read a notification from Bleacher Report:
“Breaking: Oregon to hire South Florida’s Willie Taggart as its new HC (via ESPN), led USF to 10-2 record this season”
Having graduated from USF last December, I was beyond excited to hear this bit of news — so much so that I couldn’t fall back to sleep.
I enjoyed covering Coach T at USF — he’s open, respectable, and if you’re lucky, he might even sing you happy birthday on your big day. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to covering him again at Oregon.
After my freshman year in college, USF athletic director Mark Harlan uprooted the entire department, replacing the basketball, baseball and football coaches in the process.
I remember that first football game under Coach Taggart. It was one to forget. Sitting in the student section at Raymond James, I watched USF tumble in its home-opener to McNeese State. McNeese State. Who/what/where is McNeese State, you ask? To this day, I couldn’t tell you.
After the embarrassment that was McNeese State, I remember the MacAttack later highlighting my college experience for the exact opposite reasons.
Running back Marlon Mack broke onto the scene in his debut game my junior year. I was there when he shook up the record books; I was there to feel the excitement of a program beginning to turn around.
Taggart has a knack for developing talent and helping teams reach their full potential. He did it at USF, helping the Bulls to their first 10-win season in program history this year (hello, Birmingham Bowl!), and prior to that, he did it at Western Kentucky, guiding his alma mater to a bowl game in 2012.
(I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that he worked as a Stanford running backs coach under Jim Harbaugh, which, as you may or may not know, is an automatic dub in my book.)
Resume aside, Taggart offers something invaluable, something that can’t be quantified — good vibes. Oregon fans are some of the most passionate in the game, and they deserve to have someone breathe energy back into the football program. Coach T is the guy to do it.
I’ve been on the Coach T bus for a few years now, and I encourage Ducks fans to hop aboard. This’ll be a fun ride...
Go Bulls \m/
and of course, Go Ducks!