TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - With three games left in the season, Florida State University fired its head football coach after just 21 months on the job.
FSU will have to pay Coach Willie Taggart an $18 million buyout to dismiss him from his contract, but university leaders say it will pay off in the long run. (MGN)
From one end of Tallahassee to the other, Florida State’s 9-12 record under Willie Taggart was a financial disaster.
Seats were empty, hotel rooms unoccupied and boosters were threatening to withhold their support.
It will cost the university boosters as much as $18 million to dump Taggart, but FSU Athletic Director David Coburn said the university did the math.
“Season ticket sales, renewals, new tickets moving forward. Obviously those are tied to Booster contributions to the annual fund. You’re looking at the implications for concessions, parking, all of that. When you look at that vis-a-vie the cost of a buy-out, the cost of a new coaching staff,” said Coburn.
Boosters will pick up the majority of the buyout.
The firing comes after an especially poor game against Miami on Saturday.
“He had to go,” said FSU student Jared Bansky.
Coburn said the Sunday meeting with Taggart wasn’t easy.
“It was a pretty emotional conversation for both of us,” said Coburn.
This will be the second time in three years that Odell Haggins has taken over as Interim Head Coach.
He told the players to keep their heads high.
“We are Florida State,” said Haggins.
In a statement on Twitter, Taggart took the high road saying in part, “My family and I wish FSU nothing but the best and we’ll be cheering on the Seminoles the rest of the way."
Businesses in town are hoping the financial hemorrhaging is over.
Taggart’s base salary paid by taxpayers was just $215,000 a year.
Boosters will pick up the majority of the buyout, and any money the fired coach makes at another school could offset how much FSU must pay him.
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