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Reports: Willie Taggart meets with Oregon about head coaching job

South Florida head coach Willie Taggart sings the school song with his team after the Bulls' 56-20 victory over Towson at Raymond James in Tampa on Saturday, September 3, 2016. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
South Florida head coach Willie Taggart sings the school song with his team after the Bulls' 56-20 victory over Towson at Raymond James in Tampa on Saturday, September 3, 2016. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
Published Dec. 4, 2016

In recent days, Twitter has been rife with photos of USF prospects posing with Bulls coaches during in-home visits. Staffers Shaun King, T.J. Weist, Alonzo Hampton and David Reaves all have popped up in these smile-centric snapshots.

One coach was conspicuously absent: Willie Taggart.

Taggart met with Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens in Texas about the Ducks' head coaching vacancy, ESPN and the Oregonian reported. The Ducks are seeking a replacement for Mark Helfrich, who was fired Tuesday after four years in the immediate wake of a 4-8 season.

USF athletic director Mark Harlan declined comment when asked by the Tampa Bay Times if anyone from Oregon has requested permission to speak with Taggart, saying he doesn't address personnel matters of that nature.

Taggart, who has won 17 of his past 21 games as Bulls coach, has been widely considered a strong candidate for the job.

Former Bucs coach Tony Dungy, meanwhile, is in Taggart's corner, speaking to Oregon officials about the coach.

"I certainly think he's a good fit," Dungy told ESPN. "I had a chance to watch him coach a year when my son played there (after transferring from Oregon). I liked his style. I think he's a guy that can relate to the players very well.

"He's put together two winning programs (at Western Kentucky and USF). He knows the West Coast, having been at Stanford (as an assistant from 2007-09). He has all the elements Oregon is looking for. … Oregon is a great job and hopefully he gets it. If not, we're happy to still have him in Tampa."

No hurry to leave: Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, who has come up as a potential candidate for the coach openings at Oregon and Houston and the offensive coordinator position at LSU under former USC colleague Ed Orgeron, said he wants to stay with the Crimson Tide at least through the playoff.

Herman contract: University of Texas regents have approved a five-year contract worth at least $25 million for new coach Tom Herman. The contract calls for annual salary of $5.25 million the first year and up to $6.25 million in the final year. Herman was hired away from Houston to replace Charlie Strong, who was fired after three consecutive losing seasons. UT owes Strong more than $10 million.

Mayfield staying: Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield will return for his senior season. Mayfield has passed for 3,669 yards and 38 touchdowns, and completed 71.2 percent of his passes in one of the most efficient seasons in Division I-A history. He said he wants to come back to win a national title and claim another Big 12 title for OU.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

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