John David Mercer-US PRESSWIRE
SB Nation reports Western Kentucky coach Willie Taggart is a candidate for multiple vacant jobs.
Western Kentucky's Willie Taggart has become a red hot name for a number of head coaching openings. The Hilltoppers head coach interviewed with the University of Wisconsin Tuesday, according to sources. In addition, Taggart is in talks with South Florida for their opening, and was interviewed by Arkansas before the Razorbacks hired Badgers head coach Bret Bielema. Sources have told SB Nation that if Taggart is offered the USF job, he'll likely accept.
Taggart has a 16-20 overall record since taking over his alma mater in 2010, and has the Hilltoppers bowl eligible for the second straight season. WKU will play Central Michigan in the Little Caesars Bowl on December 26, the first FBS bowl in WKU history.
According to Brett McMurphy, USF did not ask for WKU's permission to interview Taggart.
The former Hilltoppers quarterback (1995-'98) returned to his alma mater following a three-season stint as running backs coach at Stanford under Jim Harbaugh. Taggart is credited for the development of Cardinal running back Toby Gerhart, who won the Doak Walker award and was a Heisman finalist in 2009.
Harbaugh's father, Jack, coached Taggart at WKU, as Taggart set multiple school records in Harbaugh's option offense and eventually had his jersey retired by the school. Taggart served as an assistant on the WKU staff under Harbaugh, including five seasons as offensive coordinator from 2002-'06. WKU won the I-AA national championship in 2002.
Under Jim Harbaugh, Taggart became a proponent of the power run offense, bringing the same attack to WKU. In 2012, the Hilltoppers were the only offense in the Sun Belt Conference not running some variation of the spread option.
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