The Oregon Ducks have hired Will Taggart the University of South Florida football coach to be the Ducks next head coach. He is to be introduced in Oregon on Thursday morning at a press conference.
Taggart replaces the fired Mark Helfrich. Helfrich was fired almost a week ago at the completion of a 4-8 season that saw the Ducks go 2-7 in Pac-12 action.
One source close to the decision making process said that Taggart and Dan Mullen, the head coach at Mississippi State had been the school’s two final candidates.
Taggart coached four seasons at USF. In his is first season he won 2 games, his second 4 and then he increased that to 8. This past season, the team was 10-2, which marked the best record in the program’s history.
Taggart was an assistant with Stanford for three seasons between 2007 and 2009 and the Western Kentucky head coach between 2010 and 2012. While with Stanford, Taggart helped the team to recruit Andrew Luck who is now the star quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts.
David Shaw the head coach for Stanford said the hiring of Taggart at Oregon was big for the Ducks and he believes his former assistant is a good fit due to his strong pedigree for offense.
Co-offensive coordinator at South Florida, T.J. Weist was given the interim head coaching job and will be on the sideline when South Florida, which is ranked No. 25 in the nation plays in the Birmingham Bowl later this month.
Mark Harlan the South Florida Athletic Director said the school would hold a search nationwide for a new coach, which will begin immediately.
Possible candidates to take the USF job included Lane Kiffin the offensive coordinator for Alabama, Les Miles the former head coach with LSU, Charlie Strong the recently fired coach of Texas and Greg Schiano the current defensive coordinator for the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Other possible candidates include Lawrence Dawsey a co-offensive coordinator with Florida State and Rich Bisaccia an assistant coach with the Dallas Cowboys.
Former head coach in the NFL Tony Dungy, whose son Eric was at Oregon prior to transferring to USF to end his college career playing for Taggart, spoke on Taggart’s behalf to officials at Oregon.
Dungy said that Taggart has strong knowledge the West Coast thanks to coaching at Stanford. He said that Taggart should fit in and he was easy to recommend.