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Taggart update: Eery silence around USF camp

USF coach Willie Taggart reportedly interviewed for the coaching vacancy at Oregon last week.

Times file photo

USF coach Willie Taggart reportedly interviewed for the coaching vacancy at Oregon last week.

6

December

As speculation connecting Willie Taggart to Oregon intensified Tuesday, things remained silent around USF's program.

Eerily silent, in fact.

Evidently, Taggart, the Bulls' fourth-year coach who reportedly interviewed with Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens last week, has conveyed nothing to staff or recruits about the status of his candidacy with the Ducks.

One program source, when asked Tuesday if they have heard any Taggart updates, replied, "Crickets." A handful of prominent Bulls recruits said they haven't spoken with Taggart recently; one indicated assistants have told him they're in a wait-and-see mode.

Meantime, published reports indicate Mullens had moved his search to New York, where he was working in conjunction with an Atlanta-based search firm for another round of interviews. Both USA Today and CBS Sports reported OU made an offer to Temple's Matt Rhule, who turned down the Ducks and accepted the job at Baylor.

That quickly turned attention back to Taggart, who is scheduled -- for now -- to appear at a Birmingham Bowl function in Birmingham on Thursday afternoon.

He is completing the first of a five-year, $9 million deal with USF, which he signed last December.

If he leaves before Dec. 31, terms of the contract call for him to pay USF a $1.7 million buyout, which the Bulls conceivably could use to pay off former football coach Skip Holtz (owed $500,000 a year through Dec. 31, 2017) and ex-men's basketball coach Stan Heath (owed $375,000 annually through April 2018).

If Taggart does leave for Oregon, former Bucs coach Tony Dungy -- who publicly indicated he sees Taggart as a good fit in Eugene -- likely would get the business from Bulls fans.

In fact, he already is, according to this Martin Fennelly column.

[Last modified: Tuesday, December 6, 2016 10:30pm]

    

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