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07 December 2017, 07:02 | Opal Carroll
Many students disappointed Willie Taggart is leaving the Ducks
"We need to put a fence around the state of Florida and try to keep our best players here".
Taggart emerged as FSU's top choice after coach Jimbo Fisher left for Texas A&M last week.
Taggart talked at length about his childhood growing up in Palmetto, Florida, where his whole family rooted for the Seminoles. "I knew we had found our guy".
It was not an easy choice, though.
The University of Oregon Athletic Director Rob Mullens announced on Tuesday that head football coach Willie Taggart has accepted the position of head football coach at Florida State University. His son didn't want to leave OR, but told him, "If you're going to chase your dreams, I'm going to ride with you". I don't think it is right for me or anyone else to stop you from chasing your dreams.
"Don't be afraid to chase your dreams", Taggart said.
"That meant a lot to me". How he articulated those things to me.
But he returned just in time to become bowl eligible.
Taggart said he had been "open and honest" with OR players and administrators throughout the courtship, which accelerated Monday during a meeting with FSU officials in the Phoenix area while Taggart was in Arizona recruiting.
There was no other way, Taggart said during Wednesday's press conference. "The people you meet, the relationships you built, it's always tough when you have to end that". "But like I told him, I'm sorry that I did let him down and like I told everyone there, I'm sorry, I apologize".
"I feel like he kind of betrayed us, let us down.promised us a really good recruiting class". It was like me talking to him.
"I apologized (to everyone at Oregon) before I left".
She said it's about time her son made his way back down to Florida. "But no matter where I went, the Seminoles were still always a part of me". "I feel bad about that", Taggart said.
"I am so happy that he's closer to home".
He said Wednesday that when he got the call about Florida State's interest, it was a "dream come true" for him. "Most of my whole family loves Florida State and the whole town is in an uproar". But until we heard him speak on Wednesday, we didn't know how genuine his feelings for FSU were. His contract language says as much. Florida State will also pay the $1,370,122.28 he still owes South Florida and $3 million owed to OR as part of buyouts of his previous contracts.
It was clearly a price worth paying, as Florida State athletic director Stan Wilcox set out to hire Taggart from the moment Fisher made a decision to move on.
"The energy, the passion and his philosophy were exactly what we were looking for", Wilcox said. "But this job was a dream for me".
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