Western Kentucky head coach Willie Taggart has been named the new head coach of the South Florida Bulls, sources confirmed to SB Nation. Taggart is a Florida native and a graduate of Bradenton's Manatee High School.
South Florida fired Holtz this week after two straight losing seasons in his three-year run with the Bulls.
Taggart's name has been mentioned with multiple openings. According to sources, Taggart interviewed with the Bulls and with Wisconsin this week, and previously interviewed with Arkansas.
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 Dec. 26, the first FBS bowl in WKU history. Taggart informed his team after their third bowl practice on Friday evening.
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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