Ex-USF coach Jim Leavitt joins Willie Taggart's staff at Oregon

Willie Taggart leaves USF for Oregon and who's his first hire? Try former USF coach Jim Leavitt as his DC.
Published December 14 2016
Updated December 15 2016

Wednesday's developments in Eugene, Ore., just might be the most surreal scenario USF fans have experienced.

Two former Bulls football coaches, Willie Taggart and Jim Leavitt, are joining forces to try to resurrect Oregon's program.

Taggart has lured Leavitt — who helped orchestrate the turnaround at Colorado — to Eugene to be his defensive coordinator, agreeing to a four-year deal, Fox Sports reported.

The Taggart-Leavitt merger not only strikes a nerve on Fowler Avenue, it fulfills the only directive Oregon president Michael Schill said he gave upon hiring Taggart away from USF last week: "Go out and find a great defensive coordinator."

Leavitt, 60, the first and winningest coach in USF history (95-57 from 1997-2009), was among five finalists for the Broyles Award, which goes to the nation's top assistant. In his second season at Colorado, Leavitt's defense finished the regular season ranked 17th in Division I-A in total defense (328.3 yards per game) and 18th in scoring defense (20.5 points per game).

In 2014, the year before Leavitt's arrival in Boulder, the Buffaloes ranked 111th and 116th in those categories, respectively.