Dana Altman and Willie Taggart are fighting to reshape the culture of Oregon athletics. Both men had success at previous programs prior to making the switch to the Ducks. AD Rob Mullens hopes he found the right men to take UO over their last hurdle.
As Taggart’s first year at UO winds down, we take a look back. Of course, the rumors are flying around with a little more ‘humidity’ nowadays but we can’t get caught up in it. Everyone wants Taggart. Get used to it. This will be a regular occurrence.
The same goes for Altman. He’s coveted by other programs, but doesn’t acknowledge anyone when he’s under contract.
For now, both Taggart and Altman remain the head coaches at the University of Oregon so we should embrace that. They’ve made quite the impression in a short amount of time.
Last week, Coach Taggart talked about his time in Eugene thus far and the coaching acumen of Dana Altman. Let’s break down these two Oregon head coaches and see who the better recruiter is:
WILLIE TAGGART (7-5 at Oregon)
Taggart has been here less than a season, but his influence will carry on for years. He’s been a breath of fresh air to cover. Not to mention, he’s simply an enjoyable person to be around. The man carries around a great deal of infectious positivity.
No matter the time or place, Coach Tag always seems to have the juice. Whether he’s setting an example for the freshmen or even his coaching staff, the head coach never hides his enthusiasm for life and football. It’s contagious.
Take a glance at his former team from South Florida. They were nationally ranked for the first two months of their unbeaten season before falling to Houston 28-24 and No. 15 UCF 49-42. Additionally, Winky Flowers is a world-beater and a creation of Coach T.
This is what he brings to a program. The possibilities at a place like UO are endless.
“You look at any good team that wins a championship, they have some pretty good players,” Taggart stated. “But, I think it also shows you what you can do here at the University of Oregon. We’re trying to get on their (basketball) level.”
After his move to Eugene, his passion came to life in the form of a brief stay with the No. 1 recruiting class for 2018 following Autzen’s ‘Saturday Night Live.’ Nevertheless, the Ducks slipped down to No. 6 overall, still elite territory.
As we speak, Taggart is back on the recruiting trail after a solid debut season that included a 59-point spanking of OSU.
His next home visit or two could result in Oregon reclaiming the top spot in the recruiting rankings. You never know with Coach Tag.
Regardless, this is why he’s receiving the constant attention that he does. AD’s want someone talented, who gets it and is positive around young people to be the face of their program. Taggart only makes sense, plus it looks like the AD’s are doing their jobs if they interview Willie.
“I’m going to ask him (Altman) for some tips,” Taggart said with a smile. “We’re getting close. Maybe he can gives us some tips to take us over the top as we try to finish off this recruiting class.”
Mullens offered Taggart a five-year, $20M plus incentives contract earlier this week. A signature would calm the nerves of an entire state and fanbase.
DANA ALTMAN (192-72 at Oregon)
He’s been here less than a decade, but what else can we say about Dana Altman that hasn’t already been said? He may not flash a smile as often as Willie, but he certainly brought pure joy to Duck fans everywhere after an incredible March run.
It was the greatest season in Oregon history. The Ducks finished their remarkable campaign with a 33-6 record, including a Final Four finish that brought the champs, North Carolina, down to the wire.
“You look at the job he’s done over the last few years, that’s recruiting players,” said Willie Taggart. “It’s hard to win at a high level without good players. You have to go out and get the very best players you can get. Those schemes you come up with aren’t going to work with average guys.”
UO has appeared in four of the last five Pac-12 Tournament finales from Las Vegas.
The Ducks are coming off their sixth Pac-12 regular season crown, and the first back-to-back titles in program history. It was the first time since 1945 that Oregon won a championship in the state of Oregon.
Altman secured the No. 8 recruiting class for 2017, leading UO to Troy Brown, Victor Bailey Jr., Kenny Wooten and Abu Kigab. And let’s not forget, he developed undervalued recruits like Jordan Bell and Dillon Brooks into NBA players.
“He’s a damn good coach and a damn good recruiter. It’s paying off for us,” said Taggart.
The cherry on top was securing the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation for 2018. Following the commitment of Bol Bol, who added to Will Richardson, Miles Norris and Louis King, Oregon registered the best class in the land.
“I heard he got the No. 1 recruiting class,” said Taggart. “That’s big time. He got the Bol kid. It’s awesome. That’s big time. It’s Oregon.”
No matter the uncertainty that an offseason brings with it, one thing is clear and that is these two men were meant to coach and influence young minds. Their teachings of character only better the college game, as a whole. The Ducks have nothing to worry about if these two remain atop the UO pyramid.
THE MASTER RECRUITER
Right now, we have to go with Dana Altman as the better recruiter. However, if we give Taggart as many years at Oregon as Altman, this outcome may be completely different. Only time can tell that story. Over the long haul, I believe Willie will outshine every coach in the country as a recruiter. He will have five No. 1 classes in next 10 years.
Next up, Duck basketball is looking to extend their nation-best home win-streak to 47 games on Friday night vs an underrated Boise State team. Meanwhile, the football program is on the recruiting trail as they await their bowl announcement on Sunday.