Let’s start here: we hate this kind of stuff. But when two credible outlets are reporting something, it at least deserves mentioning.
SB Nation’s Steven Godfrey, who just finished this great longform piece on Willie Taggart and USF, is reporting that “Lane Kiffin will be the top target for the University of South Florida if current head coach Willie Taggart leaves for another position, multiple sources confirmed to SB Nation.”
It’s also being reported by SportsTalkFlorida.
Now... we wouldn’t normally rumor-monger like this. But since Taggart is liking multiple things on Twitter relating to him and Oregon...
And since he did meet with Oregon AD Rob Mullens, it’s at least plausible he’ll be leaving USF. Taggart is probably staying, but there’s clearly interest from other places.
But I can’t imagine Judy Genshaft, USF President and former chair of the NCAA Board of Directors, signing off on hiring a guy with too many character questions to list here and such a shaky history. During her 16 years at USF, she’s never signed off on the ethically-questionable hire. There’s literally zero precedent for this.
Bob Huggins was a highly-successful and winning basketball coach, openly campaigned for the job, had multiple USF donors line it all up... and Genshaft and Doug Woolard said no. If you’re not casting your lot with a willing Bob Huggins, who ended up at K-State and then back to his alma mater in West Virginia, you likely won’t with Lane Kiffin.
USF hired Doug Woolard because of a failed background check on another candidate (not MSU AD Mark Hollis, who was also a candidate for that job). Steve Masiello was actually offered the job of men’s basketball coach, but as soon as USF found he didn’t have a degree, they pulled the offer and he’s still coaching at Manhattan.
Oh: and USF fired their first-ever-and-very-successful football coach for lying to an internal university investigation when they could have easily covered it up, or let him off with a slap on the wrist.
For better and for worse (and we’d argue for better), USF has always taken the high road on decisions like this under Genshaft’s tenure. Which is why Kiffin to USF, at least under the current administration, stretches the limits of the imagination.
Also: Kiffin is the former brother-in-law of David Reaves, USF’s associate head coach and tight ends position coach. Kiffin and Reaves’s sister Layla divorced earlier this year.