AP Source: USF’s Taggart to be Next Oregon Football Coach

BY RALPH D. RUSSO,  AP College Football Writer

South Florida football coach Willie Taggart has informed the school that he is leaving to become the coach at Oregon, a person with direct knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because neither school was prepared to make an official announcement.

ESPN first reported Oregon had hired Taggart.

Taggart is in his fourth season at USF and has gone 18-7 the last two seasons, including 10-2 this year. He also spent three seasons as coach of Western Kentucky, his alma mater, and was an assistant coach at Stanford under Jim Harbaugh.

Oregon fired Mark Helfrich last week after the Ducks went 4-8. Taggart is the first coach Oregon has hired from outside the program since 1976.

Taggart was 16-20 at Western Kentucky, taking over when it was first transitioning to FBS. He went 7-5 in his last two seasons with the Hilltoppers and then moved to USF, not far from where he grew up in Bradenton, Florida.

Taggart will be the first black head football coach at Oregon.

It took two seasons and a change in offensive philosophy from more pro-style, West Coast schemes to a spread, but he now has the 25th-ranked Bulls rolling. They finished second in the American Athletic Conference East Division to Temple and will play South Carolina on Dec. 29 in the Birmingham Bowl.

This is the second straight day the AAC has lost one of its best coaches, and the third the conference has lost since Thanksgiving weekend. Temple’s Matt Rhule was hired by Baylor on Monday and Tom Herman left Houston for Texas on Nov. 26.

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