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Lawsuit dismissed against two former Florida State coaches following settlement

The parties reached a settlement on Thursday after nearly a month long trial.

It's been over five years since former Florida State head coach, Willie Taggart, and former head strength and conditioning coach, Irele Oderinde, led an offseason workout at the University of Oregon that resulted in three players being hospitalized. Last month, the trial finally began in Eugene after former offensive lineman Doug Brenner filed a 125.5$ million suit against Taggert, Oderinde, the University of Oregon, and the NCAA in 2019. 

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During the workout, it was alleged that Oderinde and his staff instructed a group of players to complete 10 perfect push-ups in unison. This progressed into the coaches demanding the players to perform hundreds of push-ups and up-downs without rest. On at least the first day, the players were not allowed to drink water during the workouts.

Following the session, Brenner and two other Ducks suffered from rhabdomyolysis. Per the CDC, it's a serious medical condition that can be fatal or result in permanent disability. Rhabdo occurs when damaged muscle tissue releases its proteins and electrolytes into the blood. These substances can damage the heart and kidneys and cause permanent disability or even death.

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The lawsuit also stated that Oderinde did not carry industry-required certification to be a strength and conditioning coach for the school. At the time, his certification was from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). That program has been scrutinized because it requires far less coursework than the certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NCSA) or the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCA), two of the leading organizations in the field.

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During the 17th day of the trial on Thursday, a settlement was reached between Brenner and the University of Oregon. In the process, he agreed to dismiss his claims against Oderinde and Taggart. The former offered Brenner and the other two players that suffered after the workouts an apology during his testimony last week.

“I feel like I owe him a public apology,” Oderinde said according to Oregon Live. “Doug, to you, your mother, your sister, to Sam (Poutasi), to Cam (McCormick), I’m sincerely sorry. It was not my intent. Not by any means. The person that I am and I think you know. That wasn’t my intent and I’m sincerely sorry for that.”

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“You never want kids to be injured in anyways, especially from a workout or even at practice,” Oderinde continued. “But at the same time, you want to push kids and you want to push them safely. I feel like with today’s outcome, I believe Doug understands our intent was never for that, it was to build young men and to build a team.”

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Taggart, the former Florida State and Oregon head coach who currently holds the same role at Florida Atlantic, was less remorseful while offering comments following the announcement of the settlement.

“I don’t have to deal with anything,” Taggart said according to Oregon Live. “Everybody knows the truth. Everybody know me, everybody know me at every place I’ve been. There’s nothing — I’m not concerned about anything because everybody know who I am and know what I’m all about. The type of person I got described (as), that wasn’t me.”

Prior to being fired by the Seminoles in 2019, Taggart and Oderine had worked together at three different programs; USF, Oregon and Florida State. Since then, they've gone their separate ways. Taggart has led the Owls in Boca Raton since 2020 while Oderinde returned to USF to work as head strength and conditioning coach for the women's basketball team and men's golf program. He was let go from his position with the Bulls during the course of the trial.

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