FAU president, athletics director introduce new head coach Willie Taggart Thursday

Taggart was officially hired Wednesday after Lane Kiffin stepped down after the conference title game last week.


New FAU head coach Willie Taggart talking at his introductory press conference. Photo by: Zachary Weinberger.

Zachary Weinberger, Sports Editor

Willie Taggart was introduced Thursday afternoon as the next head coach for FAU at the Delray Acura Club at FAU Stadium.


Taggart was officially hired Wednesday after he was fired from Florida State last month. He will be the seventh head coach in FAU history after Lane Kiffin accepted the Ole Miss job and defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer will coach the Owls during the Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl. 


FAU President John Kelly and Vice President and Director of Athletics Brian White both introduced Taggart. 


“We had a deliberate and exhaustive process in our search for the next person to lead our football program into the future,” White said. “There was tremendous interest in this position for several reasons, such as the new facilities and great student athletes. The choice of who we wanted became obvious; Willie [Taggart] is a program builder and we are confident he can take us to greater heights.”


According to the Miami Herald, Taggart signed a five-year contract with a base salary of $750,000 with various incentives attached. 


The potential bonuses include: 


  • $20,000 for an appearance at the C-USA championship game
  • $40,000 for winning the conference title
  • $30,000 for a bowl appearance
  • $100,000 for a New Year’s Six bowl appearance
  • $250,000 for FAU being in the college football playoffs
  • $350,000 for FAU being in the national championship
  • $500,000 if FAU wins the national title


Coach Taggart said he’s “glad to be in paradise.” He thanked Kelly and White for bringing him “into the FAU family.”


He said he met with the team in the new Schmidt complex and expressed his excitement to work with the team.


Taggart said there are multiple reasons he took the job at FAU. 


“Well I think this place is special,” he said. “I think the potential here is great and more importantly they have the leadership in place that have big expectations … We just don’t want to win the conference championship, we want to win it all.”


Known as an offensive-minded coach because of his schemes like the “Gulf Coast Offense,” Taggart is joining a team that ranked first in the conference in scoring offense with 35.2 points per game


Taggart said he’s especially excited to work with quarterback Chris Robison — but wants to see growth across the whole team.


“There is a ton of athletes on this football team that can get the ball and make things happen,” he said, “but we also need to bring in playmakers to come here and grow and not be satisfied with just this past season.”


He also said one of his goals is to start familiarizing himself with campus and the community.


“In the weeks ahead, when the students get off break, I look forward to going to the Student Union, to the dorm rooms, wherever I can to get to know the students to make sure they understand this is their football team too.”


Zachary Weinberger is the sports editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @ZachWeinberger.