Football

Reports: Oregon has hired its next football coach

USF's Willie Taggart likes high expectations

University of South Florida football coach Willie Taggart says he welcomes high expectations for the team.
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University of South Florida football coach Willie Taggart says he welcomes high expectations for the team.

Willie Taggart, the current football head coach at the University of South Florida, will be named Oregon’s next coach, according to an ESPN report on Wednesday.

Boise State coach Bryan Harsin reportedly interviewed for the vacancy left by Mark Helfrich when he was fired by the Ducks last week after four seasons.

A person with direct knowledge of the situation confirmed the hire to The Associated Press later Wednesday morning.

Taggart and Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen were the two finalists for the job, a source told ESPN’s Brett McMurphy. Taggart would become the second black head coach in the Pac-12 Conference if he were to get the job in Oregon.

Taggart has posted a 24-25 record in four seasons with the Bulls. No. 25 South Florida faces South Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl on Dec. 29. The Bulls are ranked for the first time since since 2011.

On Tuesday, the Bradenton Herald reported that BookMaker.eu had made Taggart a favorite to win the job over Harsin. Taggart was a +250 favorite, meaning a $100 bet would win $250. Harsin was second at +350.

Harsin was asked by the Idaho Statesman on Sunday if he had interviewed and had continuing interest in the job. He sidestepped the question, saying “This is really about the bowl game, and that’s the main focus right now. We just got this information, we’re processing all of that, that’s all we’re focused on at this point, so our coaches are preparing to head out on the road and recruit again, that’s the next step for us. That’s really all we’re talking about today, and I want to make sure everybody knows how excited we are to go play Baylor.”

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