Yesterday, Willie Taggart accepted the recently vacated head coaching job at Florida State after just 363 days at the University of Oregon. Naturally, there was a lot of backlash, especially from those upset that he presumedly lied straight to everyone’s faces on Friday when asked if he had been contacted about the FSU job. (Oregon AD Rob Mullens claims Taggart spoke to FSU on Thursday)
One constant form of criticism I saw yesterday was Taggart’s lack of loyalty. But can you blame a guy for wanting to go back home and take his dream job? If the Florida State gig was open last year, Taggart likely never would’ve come west. This is a job that was vacant for the first time in over four decades, a vacancy nobody saw coming. Kudos to Willie for doing what makes him happy, which is going back home to take his dream job.
In relation to loyalty, many criticized Taggart for recruiting and preaching the “mOvement18” while he was getting ready to jump ship. Let me tell you a story about a similar situation I was in, from a “real world” perspective.
I had a job for about a year that I was content at. A new job at a company that I was curious about opened up. I applied for the job and interviewed, all while continuing my current job, business as usual. I didn’t know if this new job would pan out, or if it would even be a good fit for me. I was simply testing the waters. If I had gone to my current employer and said “Hey I won’t be at work today, I’m interviewing with your direct competitor,” do you think I would’ve kept that job? Hell no. It may seem sneaky or deceitful, but it’s just business, as much as it sucks.
It’s shitty that this whole thing had to go down that way, and that a lot of kids feel deceived or hurt, but that’s life.
Long story short, I don’t blame Taggart for handling things the way he did. It was a lose-lose situation for him. Either he’s open about interviewing for the gig and as a result, loses a lot of trust, or he keeps it to himself until a decision is 100% final, so that in the event that it doesn’t work out, no current relationships are compromised.
Even though there are unpaid kids involved, college football is the same as any other professional sport. A lot gets put into emotions and loyalty, but at the end of the day, college football is a business, and in business, this sort of thing is going to happen.
While Taggart was here for just one year, I truly believe he made an impact by getting the fans excited about the product on the field. I believe this team has an extremely bright future, and that our next coaching staff will have the foundation laid by Taggart and his staff in order to be successful.