The Willie Taggart era in Tallahassee is over, and honestly, did it ever really start? Now, the Noles will begin the search for a new coach getting a head start on other potential jobs that may open up. The Noles search this time will be different; it will not be a quick turnaround like it was with the hiring of Taggart.
For good reason too, this hire could determine Florida State’s fate for the next decade.
After years of security with Bobby Bowden and Jimbo Fisher, the Noles do not want to become what Florida and Miami did when they were riffling through head coaches like Randy Shannon, Al Golden, Will Muschamp and Jim McElwain. Florida State won’t be getting Urban Myer, but here are a few names to watch for.
Mark Stoops- Stoops has done a great job turning around the University of Kentucky the “basketball school” has had some good seasons under stoops. They have had three straight winning seasons and won 10 games last year for the first time since 1977. Stoops also has FSU ties serving as the defensive coordinator from 2009- 2012. He has yet to appear in the SEC title game yet struggling to beat the top teams consistently. With the resources at FSU, could he turn that around?
Josh Heupel- Heupel has done a masterful job of keeping UCF playing at a high level after taking over for Scott Frost. The question is, would he leave for a power five job like Scott Frost? Frost is quickly learning the grass may not always be greener on the other side.
FSU, though unlike Nebraska, is still a top 10 job in the sport. Already having success at UCF staying in state and going to Tallahassee wouldn’t be as much as an issue still recruiting the same area. The stability at UCF may be too much to sway him, but look for FSU to try and pull him away.
P.J. Fleck- Fleck took Western Michigan from 1-11 in his first season all the way to 31-1 in his last, resulting in a cotton bowl loss. Now Fleck has taken his high energy to Minnesota, where he has the Gophers sitting at 8-0 in his third ear and preparing for one of the biggest games in program history. Fleck is a guy with northern ties playing for Northern Illinois and only coaching up north. He would be a tremendous hire for the Noles if they were able to pry him away from the north star state. Fleck has built up a lot in Minnesota, and would he leave a=everything the unpredictability in Tallahassee.
Matt Campbell- Campbell was a hot name to watch last season after he led Iowa State to back to back eight-win seasons. He has two big 12 coach of the years under his belt as well. Campbell is also another northern guy, and the question is, would he leave for the south. FSU will have some competition with Campbell, and if they want to land him, it was a good thing they parted with Taggert so early.
Mike Norvell- Norvell has had Memphis competitive every season he has been at the helm. He has a 35-15 record in his time as the Tigers head coach. We have seen several head coaches from the AAC make their way up to higher-level programs over the past few seasons.
The Tigers offense has been led with a mix of strong running and good quarterback play, becoming one of the best programs in the conference. He currently has his team at 8-1 and are a game back of Navy, as they try to reach their third straight conference title game.
Joe Brady- the LSU offense has been revived this season. It is arguably the best we have seen over the past decade. A big reason for this is Brady. After coming from the New Orleans Saints, Brady has transformed the offense. As the passing game coordinator, he has Joe Burrow second in passing yards and Ja’Marr Chase 20th in receiving yards.
This hire would be out of the box, and that is not something fans want to hear right now. Brady has never been a head coach, and this is his first season, which could be a cause for concern. You can not argue the results he has had this season and could be a name to watch.
Report- Bob Stoops no longer candidate for FSU job
At FSU continues to look for a replacement for Willie Taggart, you can scratch one prominent name off the list.
— Jim Henry (@JimHenryTALLY) November 15, 2019
Reports previously were that Stoops was one of the leading choices to take over the floundering Seminole program, and that Florida State may have already extended a massive offer to him.
However, Stoops, who coached Oklahoma from 1999-2016 and won a BCS National Championship against Florida State in the 2000 Orange Bowl, wants to instead keep his job as coach and general manager of the Dallas Renegades of the reboot of the XFL this February.
Stoops had also refused to deny being interested/linked to the Seminoles job, at a public Q & A for the XFL in Dallas last week.
There is obviously a financial concern for Florida State of not only the buyout that they still owe Taggart, which is believed to be somewhere around $17 million, but the potential buyout of another established coach, plus that coach’s salary for 2020 and beyond.
We wrote earlier this week that current interim coach Odell Haggins could be an excellent short-term solution for a lot of the needs that Florida state has, including financial resources.
Haggins coached the Noles to a dramatic 38 – 31 win in Boston last week over the B..C Eagles, which has now put FSU in position to make a bowl game. They need only one more victory and play FCS Alabama State at noon Doak Campbell Stadium Saturday
It is still believed that Florida State is very interested in Stoops’ younger brother Mark, who is the current coach at Kentucky, and is the former defensive coordinator for four seasons (2009-12) with Jimbo Fisher in Tallahassee.
The Democrat article also mentions that Memphis coach Mike Norvell, Penn State coach James Franklin and Iowa State coach, Matt Campbell, are candidates that FSU will seriously consider.
Argument for keeping Odell Haggins as FSU coach
As FSU enters their second week of trying to solve their coaching vacancy situation, the best immediate solution maybe staring right at them in interim coach, Odell Haggins.
Haggins oversaw Florida State’s dramatic 38-31 win at Boston College Saturday, which coupled with his two victories as interim coach at the end of the 2017 season has already demonstrated, in a small sample, that he has promise as a head coach. FSU will play FCS Alabama State Saturday and will likely win easily and assure themselves of a bowl game, too.
As for the search, there are three important factors in the Seminoles interviewing for the replacement for Willie Taggart.
One, the leadership in Tallahassee needs to bring stability to the program. The departure of Jimbo Fisher to take a more lucrative job in the SEC with Texas A&M and then with the dismal results from Taggart, who had only coached in a Power 5 situation for one year at Oregon, have the Noles in turmoil.
Florida State needs someone who can calm and reassure players, potential recruits, boosters and anyone else, that they’re going to get back to their winning ways. Preferably, someone who’s been there.
Two, FSU has to be concerned in the short-term with recruits “bailing on them” due to the uncertainty the coaching situation. The early signing period is coming in the second week in December. And, Florida State, right now, has one of the top 5 recruiting classes for next year in the country. But that could evaporate over the course of the next 21 days, if they are not reassured.
And finally, what can the Seminoles actually afford? With Taggart’s massive buyout, believed to be $17 million or so and the fact that FSU will have to likely buyout an established head coach for more significant money, and then, pay their salary, money is definitely a concern in the short-term.
So when you analyze Haggins, who’s been an assistant coach or a player at Florida State for 30 years, he is a solid “yes” on all three of those, above.
He would clearly bring stability, as he is Florida State through and through, including being part of Bobby Bowden and Jimbo Fisher’s National Championship staffs/teams.
Two, Haggins has been intimately involved in FSU recruiting for the last two decades. He helped hold the recruiting class together two years ago in December, when Fisher left. And, he has been instrumental in talking to recruits right now during the transition period for the next coach.
And finally, the money concerns could be alleviated, at least on a short-term basis, with hiring Haggins as the coach. He will cost significantly less to promote than the names like Mark Stoops, Mike Norvell, etc. would cost.
FSU could explore even a one or two-year option on a deal with their longtime defensive line assistant, and Haggins would probably be willing to do it for all of the reasons above. This would also be a good short term option in keeping the staff together, like offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, and potentially, elevating Jim Leavitt to defensive coordinator, if they/Haggins would like.
Again, Florida State may be able to land a proven head coach coming up and afford their buyout.
But, if they are not able to do that in short order, Odell Haggins appears to be an excellent option to continue to bring short-term stability and success that’s affordable.
And those are three “wins” that FSU needs right now, too.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers6 days ago
Bucs release DB Vernon Hargreaves
Tampa Bay Buccaneers1 week ago
Despite Sunday win Jameis Winston still needs to go
Tampa Bay Buccaneers1 week ago
Bucs rally to win wild game- snap four game skid
Florida State Seminoles3 days ago
Report- Bob Stoops no longer candidate for FSU job