Among the 23,000 people inside of FAU Stadium on Saturday to watch the Owls win their second Boca Raton Bowl in the last three seasons was someone very important to the future of their program – as well as the future of another power college football team in the state.
Willie Taggart, who was hired by the school earlier this month just over five weeks after he was fired as the head coach of Florida State just 21 games into his tenure, watched his future program win their 11th game of the season in blowout fashion over SMU and reiterated why he took another job so quickly after not even getting through two seasons in Tallahassee.
“It’s really important for me to be somewhere I can win and can live and be there with my family,” he told NBC6.com’s Jason Parker. “It was a perfect spot for what I wanted and I didn’t want to take a job and have to leave after two years.”
That last sentence was a clear indication that Taggart’s feelings are still raw about his November 3rd firing by the Seminoles, one day after their blowout loss to rival Miami that dropped his record to 9-12 with the Noles.
Taggart’s firing both caught national attention over questions about why the school was so quick to act – as well as the five weeks they spent before hiring former Memphis head coach Mike Norvell as Taggart’s successor.
For Taggart, who will be coaching his fourth different program in a five season period, he knows that the Seminoles didn’t get the job done – but wishes he could have gotten more time to turn things around.
“You think about Florida State…it’s a prideful program, won a lot of ball games and has never been in that position before,” he said. “That program just wasn’t what it had been and we had to work our way through that. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time to get through that.”
Taggart will coach his first game for the Owls on September 5th when FAU travels to take on Minnesota as part of a schedule that includes a home game later that month against USF – a school Taggart coached at from 2013 to 2016.