Fisher gives thoughts on Willie Taggart Firing

Cole Thompson

COLLEGE STATION - One of the biggest storylines in College Football this decade has been Jimbo Fisher's decision to leave Florida State in favor of Texas A&M. The now Aggies head coach went 83-23 in Tallahassee, helping the Seminoles bring home a National Championship in 2013. 

Perhaps the bigger storyline was the hiring of Willie Taggart to replace Fisher as the next head coach. The then Oregon coach has been in Eugene for one season and found success at South Florida once during the 2018 season. Overall, Taggart would begin his career with the Seminoles with a 47-50 record as a head coach. 

That experiment came to an end on Monday, less than two years into his contract. The school elected to fire Taggart, buying him out of $20 million deal with support from boosters after a struggling start to the 2019 season. Taggart would finish with a 9-12 record, failing to take the Seminoles to a bowl game in his first season there. 

Although his focus is in College Station, Fisher understands the process of leaving a school such a Florida State. Not only does the firing affect the players on the field, but it also puts a hold on recruiting due to the hiring process. With the Aggies on a bye week, Fisher gave his thoughts on the weekly teleconference call on the firing of the man who replaced in him Florida. 

“(I) hate it for the program, himself and all the kids involved. (I) wish them nothing but the best,” Fisher said. “My time there was wonderful; great, great times. (We) won a national championship, had some great times - three straight ACC championships. I know they will do well. (I) wish Willie the best, all those players the best. I still have a great fondness for Florida State and want them to do very well. 

"I know they'll do well."

For Florida State, the removal of Fisher was selectively different than Taggart. With the loss of Deandre Francois, the Seminoles would go 5-6 during his final season in Tallahassee. It would be the first losing season the school had suffered since 1978 under the direction of Bobby Bowden. 

Fisher did not comment on the process of firing Taggart during the midseason, believing the school had the choice to move forward with the inevitable news. 

"I don’t know. You will have to ask the administration," he said. "That’s someone else’s call. I don’t know what was going on or the inner workings of anything that was going on. I’m the wrong guy to ask on that one.”

Several names have entered the conversation for the successor to Taggart. Perhaps the most prominent two would be Minnesota's PJ Fleck and former Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops. 

Since becoming a head coach, Fleck, 38, has gone 50-35 throughout seven seasons. Perhaps best known for his time at Western Michigan, the Gophers' head coach took the Mustangs to a 13-1 record in 2016, leading the team to a Cotton Bowl appearance against Wisconsin. 

Fleck recently signed a seven-year contract extension in Minnesota, bumping his salary to $4.6 million following the Gophers' 8-0 start. 

Stoops could be an exciting name to watch since the program could sign him now. A proven leader at the college ranks, the former Sooners coach spent 18 seasons in Norman, going 190-48 as Oklahoma's head coach. The team would have 13 10-plus wins seasons under his services with a pair of appearances in the National Championship, winning one in 1999. 

Currently, Stoops is the head coach and general manager of the XFL's Dallas Renegades, which will launch in February of next year. 

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