The former Ducks defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt was in the capital city of Florida several weeks ago, checking out a Florida State practice. As we all know, the head coach of the Seminoles is none other than one William Taggart. Coach Leavitt “mutually” agreed to part ways with the University of Oregon in February so he has plenty of time and the wherewithal to decide his next career move.
My feelings on his tenure at Oregon can be found here
A couple of weeks ago, he was the Big3RollUp podcast (a podcast that is hosted by fans / writers of the Big 3 programs in Florida) to talk about Coach Taggart, his past experiences at the University of South Florida, and his future career prospects. His portion of the pod starts at the 18:35 minute mark.
The relevant part of the podcast starts at 28:20. He starts off with some praise for Taggart the player and then the coach.
What’s interesting is that he briefly discusses the conversation he had with Taggart about the then vacant defensive coordinator job at Florida State when it was first open. Leavitt stated, “We talked seriously about it, and just the timing, and the contractual type thing, it just wasn’t going to happen.” If you remember that chaotic period between coaches, it was really up in the air whether or not Leavitt was close to leaving for FSU before ultimately staying to serve under Coach Cristobal.
He then cites that he’s just traveling around the country to various programs and spending time with his family during the spring. Leavitt was very diplomatic trying to balance the Taggart situation and understanding the ire of Oregon officials, players, and fans.
According to Josh Newberg of Noles247, Leavitt is open to anything, including off the field roles.
How does this affect Oregon?
Other than offset language in his buyout agreement, it’s business as usual. Leavitt and the University agreed to offset some of the $2.5 million pending the salary of his new job, wherever that is.
How does this affect Florida State?
For the 2019 season, the Seminoles had to get creative with their coaching titles due to the hires of OL coach Randy Clements and WR Ron Dugans. Their intention was to keep current Recruiting Coordinator David Kelly as the WR coach but the NCAA denied their appeal.
Leavitt would be an off field analyst due to the fact that the Noles already have a DC in former Michigan State DC Harlon Barnett. It could be something similar to the arrangement that Alabama has had with its former head coaches turned analysts waiting for a coordinator job to open.
If Leavitt wants a quick path to a DC job, FSU is it as Barnett didn’t have the most auspicious of starts to his tenure last season.
How does it affect other programs such as LSU or Michigan?
In the case of LSU and Michigan, it would be really tough for Leavitt to get the DC jobs at those locales due to the current coordinators there. Dave Aranda at LSU is one of the highest paid DCs in the game and well entrenched in Baton Rouge. Same goes for Michigan’s Don Brown, he’s one of the best.
What’s next for Jim Leavitt?
Probably a long vacation and spending time with his family. He certainly has earned it after his coaching tenure. I just don’t know if any major program will hire him as a head coach at this point. Maybe a defensive coordinator job in college awaits or he could go back to the NFL as a position coach / coordinator. He loves coaching and has a great track record of putting players in the league. It’s certainly possible that he joins Florida State as an off field analyst but I’m ruling it out for now.
He is in Los Angeles taking in the sights and attending UCLA practice. Could be something there with former Ducks HC Chip Kelly