Oregon on Willie Taggart departure: Where's the commitment?

Published Dec. 5, 2017

Less than a year after Oregon hired Willie Taggart away from USF, the Ducks are searching for a new coach.

Oregon's players were summoned to a meeting early Tuesday afternoon for the announcement that Taggart had accepted the coaching job at Florida State.

Senior cornerback Ty Griffin tweeted the words "He gone" with a smoke puff emoji.

It will be Taggart's third program in three seasons. He was officially coach of the Ducks for 363 days.

Co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Mario Cristobal was named interim coach. The Ducks play Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 16.

"I was disappointed," Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens said. "We sat down a year ago and we made a commitment to him. He made a commitment to us. We have done everything to support our commitment to get here today and I'm disappointed."

Mullens confirmed Tuesday that Taggart was offered a contract extension just before the Ducks' 69-10 season-ending victory over Oregon State. The extension was worth a reported $20 million for five years.

Taggart has a $3 million buyout for his Oregon contract.

Meanwhile, some recruits were grumbling about how the move was handled. Tigard High School's Bradan Lenzy decommitted.

Eli'Jah Winston, a senior outside lineman from Portland's Central Catholic, tweeted: "I didn't know it would've been handled so ugly. Respect the decision 100% but leaving us clueless was messed up."

Mullens said Oregon has launched a nationwide search for a new coach.