TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Willie Taggart left Oregon for his dream job and left fans in Eugene in a nightmare scenario. Taggart, after less than a year in charge of the Ducks' football team left to become the head coach at Florida State, a job that has always been his dream.
He was formally introduced as Florida State's next head coach on Wednesday and addressed questions about the circumstances surrounding his decision to leave.
Taggart spoke about his son's influence on his decision and the powerful conversation he had with him while deciding whether or not to head to Tallahassee: "He said, 'Dad, I know you're struggling with this decision and I know this is your dream job,' and he said, 'You always tell me to chase my dreams and don't let anyone get in the way of it.' He said, 'I don't think it's right for me or anyone else to stop you from chasing your dreams.'"
He also talked about the thrill of walking onto the field at Doak Campbell Stadium and seeing his picture up on the jumbotron: "It was really, really nice walking out onto the field this morning and walking to the 50-yard line and just going, 'Yes, you made it. You made it.' Then you look up at your name on the big jumbotron and your name is spelled right. Yes!"
A theme of the press conference became timing. It was something Taggart said worked in his favor in landing the head coaching job at the school he had so long coveted: "It's pretty amazing how life can put you in places where you need to be," Taggart said, "There are different ways of getting there and crazy ways of getting there and all those years, I wanted to be a Nole and supported the Noles and never gave up on it and now I'm the head football coach of the Florida State Seminoles."
Reflecting on his short time in Oregon, Taggart also talked about his players and staff in Eugene and how hard they ultimately made his decision: "There are really, really great people in Eugene and it was a really hard decision for me, because the people were so great," Taggart said, "I had a great boss, great support, and it was hard. It was really hard because of the players. I had great relationships with my players and I wouldn't be standing here if it wasn't for them."
Perhaps of greatest interest to Oregon fans were Taggart's comments about coming off indecisive in the process. He said he should have just listened to his heart from the beginning: "Part of my biggest problem is that I'm always worried about other folks and making other folks happy. This one time I had a chance to fulfill my dreams, I couldn't just rely on that," Taggart said.
"It wasn't the perfect situation, so I wasn't going to leave it for just anything. My family loved it there and had everything going there, but to get closer to your family and still have a chance to coach in the Power 5, and win a national championship, that was tough to overcome."