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Full Statements From USF & Oregon: T.J. Weist Named Interim Bulls Coach

Full text from both Ducks and Bulls on Willie Taggart being named head coach at Oregon

Louisville v Connecticut
Pretty cool pic to find, eh?
Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

From USF, who says former UConn head coach and Bulls assistant T.J. Weist will be named interim head coach for the bowl game:

TAMPA, Fla. - Dec. 7, 2016 - The University of South Florida will immediately begin a national search for a new head football coach following the resignation of Willie Taggart after a record-breaking season.

The 10-2 Bulls posted program records with 10 regular season wins and seven conference victories. USF finished the regular season in the Top 25 rankings for the second time in program history.

USF will represent the American Athletic Conference in the Birmingham Bowl vs. the South Carolina Gamecocks of the SEC on Thursday, Dec. 29 in Birmingham, Ala.

“We are pleased to announce that T.J. Weist, one of our co-offensive coordinators, will be our interim football coach for the rest of the 2016 season,” said USF Director of Athletics Mark Harlan. “We will work quickly, but with careful thought and discussion to find our next football coach. We have the outstanding support of our community, and are confident that we’ll soon find the best and most qualified coach to lead our Football program. I want to thank Willie Taggart for the leadership, energy, and excitement he brought to our program over the last four years. The achievements of our football program both on and off the field speak for themselves. We wish Willie and his family the very best.”

“We are very proud of our record-setting football season,” said USF System President Judy Genshaft. “We now have the foundation of our football program in place. We have a terrific group of student athletes who are laser-focused on the Birmingham Bowl and next year’s season. We wish Coach Taggart well.”

USF Board of Trustees Chair Brian Lamb said, “The trajectory of USF Athletics is strong. It has elevated the spirit of our campuses as well as our national profile. I know that the young men in our football program will continue to be highly successful on the field and in the classroom.”

From Oregon:

EUGENE, Ore. — Willie Taggart, one of college coaching's brightest offensive minds and a proven winner, will be introduced as Oregon's next head football coach at a press conference Thursday morning in the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex.

Taggart, 40, coached South Florida to a school-record 10-2 regular-season mark this fall, three years after the Bulls went 2-10. He will be the 33rd head coach in UO football history, and will have the distinction of being the football program's first African-American head coach.

"We are thrilled to welcome Willie, his wife, Taneshia, their sons, Willie Jr. and Jackson, and their daughter, Morgan," UO athletic director Rob Mullens said. "Willie places an emphasis on ensuring a positive student-athlete experience and on winning, and his previous stops have proven his success at both. We have a very bright future under his leadership."

Mullens will introduce Taggart at a press conference Thursday in the main theater of the HDC at 11 a.m. The event will be streamed live on Facebook and Twitter via the GoDucks accounts.

"I am grateful for the trust that President Schill and Rob Mullens have put in me to be the next head coach of the Oregon football program, and I thank them for the opportunity," Taggart said. "Oregon has a strong national presence and a proud recent history of playing among the nation's elite, and I look forward to the challenge of upholding the excellence. I can't wait to get started."

"I want to congratulate Willie Taggart on becoming the University of Oregon's next head football coach, and welcome him and his family to the flock," UO president and professor of law Michael H. Schill said. "I am confident that Coach Taggart fits with the UO's values and culture of excellence as it relates to supporting our student-athletes' personal growth and success both on and off the playing field.

"I also want to recognize athletic director Rob Mullens for his hard work and dedication over the last few weeks. He did not have an easy task, but he's delivered a wonderful outcome and hired a great coach. Welcome Coach Taggart, and go Ducks!"

A 1998 graduate of Western Kentucky, Taggart began his coaching career as an assistant with his alma mater from 1999-2006. He then spent three seasons as an assistant to Jim Harbaugh at Stanford from 2007-09, coaching running backs and helping Toby Gerhart win the 2009 Doak Walker Award.

Taggart returned to Western Kentucky as head coach in 2010, taking over a program that had lost 20 straight games and leading the Hilltoppers to their first bowl bid in 2012. Taggart then took over at South Florida and has the Bulls in their second straight bowl game this fall.

With Taggart calling plays in the "Gulf Coast Offense," South Florida finished the regular season seventh nationally in scoring offense (43.6) and fifth in yards per play (7.29). The Bulls also boast the nation's fifth-best rushing offense at 291.75 yards per game, and they have 29 explosion plays of 40 yards or more, third-most in the FBS.