FAU fires football head coach Willie Taggart after three seasons

Taggart leaves FAU with a 15-18 record, including 3-13 on the road.


Eston Parker III

Willie Taggart speaking to the team after the 2022 Spring Game on April 9, 2022.

Cameron Priester, Sports Editor

Florida Atlantic University fired football head coach Willie Taggart Saturday night, hours after a 32-31 loss to Western Kentucky University.

“It was a difficult decision, as we have tremendous respect for [Taggart],” said FAU Vice President and Director of Athletics Brian White in a statement. “However, the lack of on-field success needed to be addressed as we look toward the future.”

Defensive coordinator Todd Orlando will take over as interim head coach of FAU as the university begins their search process, according to a report.

Taggart finished his three-year stint in Boca Raton with an overall record of 15-18, including 3-13 on the road.

Before taking over at FAU, Taggart was the head coach of four other programs: Western Kentucky, South Florida, Oregon, and Florida State. 

His first season at the helm was the high point of his tenure with the Owls. In 2020, a season shortened due to COVID-19, Taggart led the Owls to a record of 5-4 and an appearance in the Montgomery Bowl—his only bowl appearance at FAU. 

Taggart’s second season wasn’t as successful. After an up-and-down start to the 2021 season that left them 5-3 and in contention for an appearance in Conference USA Championship, the Owls fell apart. FAU lost their final four games of the season, by a combined margin of 137-63, to finish the season 5-7. 

This year, Taggart’s third and final season at FAU, the Owls found themselves in a similar situation. Despite a disappointing start to the season, FAU had the opportunity to clinch bowl eligibility with a single win following a 52-17 blowout win over rival FIU that left them at 5-5. 

However, the Owls proceeded to drop two straight games to miss a bowl game for the second consecutive season. First to Middle Tennessee by a score of 49-21 on Nov. 19, then again to Western Kentucky on Saturday afternoon, which appeared to be Taggart’s final straw.

“A national search will begin immediately to identify and recruit the best coach to lead FAU Football as we begin play in the American Athletic Conference next season,” White said in the statement. 

Cameron Priester is the Sports Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @PriesterCameron