Florida State AD: 'We’re looking for somebody that can win national championships'

By: Edan Schultz | WCTV Eyewitness Sports
November 4, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Florida State University Athletics Director David Coburn says ticket sales, booster contributions and other financial factors lead the university to fire head football coach Willie Taggart Sunday.

"When you do the numbers it just made more sense to do this," he said.

Coburn, speaking at a Monday news conference, called it a "rough weekend," saying he had to fire a friend and that was very difficult.

When asked why the university decided to remove Taggart now, Coburn said leadership looked at pluses and minuses, but didn't see an upside in keeping Taggart for the final three games of the season.

"We wanted to get started in the search as soon as possible," said Coburn. By making the change now, "we could get position and be ready to hit the ground running. It would be a significant advantage," Coburn said.

As for Taggart's contract, and an $18 million buyout, Coburn said it has not been finalized and the university will be in discussions on that for a while. "I have no idea what the timeline is going to be," he said.

The athletics director says the university will bring in an outside firm to help with the search for a new coach. He said he'd like to have a new coach in place by the time this season ends.

"We're looking for somebody that can win national championships," Coburn said. "We're going to win, we're going to get back to the standard of Florida State University football. That's what's going to happen."

Coburn said interim coach Odell Haggins is going to do just fine and did a great job last time, when Haggins filled the role after Jimbo Fisher left for Texas A&M.

"Odell, having done it before, with his tenure here, was the appropriate person," he said, "He's going to have all the support of everybody in this building."

Taggart was hired in December 2017 following the departure of Jimbo Fisher.

In his 21 games as Head Coach, Taggart compiled a 9-12 record with an 0-5 mark against rivals Miami, Florida and Clemson. The 2018 campaign saw the end of the Seminoles 36 year bowl streak, the longest active in major college football.

“I think very highly of Coach Taggart and wish him well, but in the interest of the university we had no choice but to make a change,” said also Florida State University President John Thrasher. “We will support our student-athletes in every way and do all we can to return to the winning tradition that is Seminole football.”

Taggart said on Twitter that he was "disappointed in the decision" and believed that "our future is bright at Florida State."

"Building a culture takes time, and I regret that we will not have the opportunity to continue to coach these incredible young men," he wrote on Twitter. " I want to thank first and foremost our student-athletes, who never stopped believing and who deserve to find success."

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