TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State Athletic Director David Coburn said on Monday that he made the decision to dismiss coach Willie Taggart after 21 games because they saw no advantage in waiting until at the end of the season.
Coburn described a moving conversation with Taggart on Sunday, when he announced the news, adding that he had to consider not only the lack of progress on the ground, but also financial considerations that made indefensible maintaining Taggart in his duties.
Taggart played 9-12 at Florida State, and the Seminoles need victories in two of their last three games just to be eligible for the bowl. They are currently 4-5 with a road trip to Boston College on Saturday, then matches against Alabama State and No. 10 in Florida.
"Frankly, 6-6 is not good enough," Coburn said.
Coburn said that he and Taggart had held "explicit conversations" about the expectations of the state of Florida and the steps to be taken to improve the safety of his job. Coburn pointed out that the 27-10 loss to Miami last Saturday was the last straw, comparing the performance to a 24-3 loss to opening Tech against Virginia Tech in 2018.
"There are a lot of ways to measure what's going on with the team," Coburn said. "I thought we were making progress early in the season – Clemson was a disappointment and I felt and the president felt since we just did not look very good."
Coburn was not ready to discuss the financial consequences, but he said that the buyback paid to Taggart would be in the range of $ 18 million, but that discussions are ongoing and that it There is no timetable for a settlement. When asked how a cash-strapped sports department could make the decision to pay so many people to pass from his head coach, Mr. Coburn explained that late sales of season tickets and Reminder contributions were important factors.
"It was not an easy decision," Coburn said. "You have to look at the season ticket sales, the renewals, the new bills that are coming in. Obviously, these are related to the annual fund's reminder contributions.You are looking at the implications for the dealerships, the parking, you're looking at it. Regarding the cost of a buyout, the cost of a new coaching staff, you must make a decision. "
Coburn said the university would hire a recruitment agency to help find a new coach, and that the Florida state relays would also play a role in the decision. Former Florida State Sports Director, Stan Wilcox, had not used a company when he hired Taggart in December 2017. Wilcox left his position to join the NCAA eight months after hiring Taggart. After a long search for sports directors, the state of Florida chose to leave with Coburn, who came from the university administration.
Besides the financial considerations and the idea that any new incoming coach will not have enough time to rebuild themselves, which could complicate the search for coaches, it is the long term stability at the top . Coburn and Florida President John Thrasher are not expected to be in the job again in the next two or three years. The newly formed Florida State University Athletic Association, which includes both the Sports Department and Seminole Boosters, adds a ride that has not been researched in any training. . Coburn said the new FSUAA would not have a huge impact on how the research is conducted, although he said the Boosters would be involved.
When asked what he was looking for in his next head coach, Coburn said, "We're looking for someone who can win national championships, I'll look at all the possible options, we'll win." We're going to go back to the Florida State University football standard. "
Coburn would like to have someone in place by the end of the season, if it is not before, hoping to save the recruiting class before the early signing date in December. .
At the end of last week, the Seminoles had ranked No. 13, up from the 22nd class in 2019, but some commitments have already been made.
The three-star corner half of Jacksonville, Florida Derek Bermudez was the first to disengage Sunday, announcing that he would always stay in touch with the staff but that he was reopening his recruitment. Georgian athlete Isaiah Dunson, a four-star rookie, was disengaged Monday and was followed by 300 ESPN riders Jaylan Knighton.
Knighton's disengagement is staggering as he is ranked 88th in rookie rankings and second in the Florida State category. There are 17 staff members in the class, eight of whom are ranked among the 300 ESPNs. Acting coach Odell Haggins was on the phone Monday morning trying to maintain the Florida state class.
But he must also keep the current team together. Haggins has experience in this regard. He was acting head coach when Jimbo Fisher left with a game to play in the 2017 regular season. With the bowl's eligibility in play, Florida State beat ULM 42-10 and then won its match bowl to save a season 7-6.
The Seminoles seemed to be a team transformed under Haggins, and that's the hope now that he will take over with three games to play. Haggins, who played at Florida State and spent 26 years at school as an assistant, will not discuss the myriad of problems that have plagued Florida State on the field this season and chose to look rather towards Boston College.
But he did say that the team had a good day of training on Sunday.
"We are going ahead," said Haggins. "Thinking about Boston College, how we're going to plan and what we're going to do, that's what Willie Taggart would like, he would not want you to sulk and cry, he'd like you to go out there." # 39; before. "
Coburn said Taggart had denied the opportunity to meet the team on Sunday. Coburn and Haggins did it instead, and he said players treated the news "like champions".
"We will fight," said Haggins. "We are undefeated – exactly what I told them and what they need to hear – they are our children and they will fight to defend Florida State University. . "
Tom VanHaaren of ESPN contributed to this report.