In a textbook turn of the college football coaching carousel, Florida Atlantic is set to hire former Florida State coach Willie Taggart, according to multiple reports Wednesday.

Taggart, fired last month with three games left on the Seminoles’ schedule, posted a 9-12 record in Tallahassee after coming over from Oregon, where he went 7-5 in his one season. He spent four seasons at South Florida before that, going 24-25, and he was considered a candidate to return there and fill a recent vacancy, before the school went with former Clemson assistant Jeff Scott.

While Florida State is moving forward with former Memphis coach Mike Norvell, Taggart will be replacing Lane Kiffin, who left FAU to take over the program at Ole Miss. Kiffin left the Owls in an attractive position, having taken over a struggling program in 2017 and leading it to two Conference USA championships in three seasons, including this year.

Taggart, 43, is a native of Bradenton, Fla., who played quarterback at Western Kentucky and began his coaching career there. That school gave him his first job as a head coach, and he followed up a 2-10 debut with two 7-5 seasons before departing for South Florida.

Here’s a look at who’s hiring and who could be hired elsewhere:

The jobs

Appalachian State

Departed: Eli Drinkwitz (11-1 in one season)

Drinkwitz has agreed to replace Barry Odom at Missouri.


Fired: Chad Morris (4-18 in less than two seasons)

Hired: Sam Pittman

A longtime assistant, including a stint with the Razorbacks from 2013 to 2015, the 58-year-old Pittman is getting his first chance to run a major program. (He was head coach at Kansas’s Hutchinson Community College in 1992 and 1993.) He comes over from Georgia, where he was a top assistant to Kirby Smart and oversaw the offensive line. Pittman is also known for his prowess as a recruiter, and as the fifth Razorbacks head coach since 2012, he will need all his skill to help revive a program that has gone 2-10 in each of the past two seasons.

Boston College

Fired: Steve Addazio (44-44 in seven seasons)

Addazio went 7-6 or 7-5 in five of his seven seasons in Chestnut Hill and achieved bowl eligibility in six of them but still was fired.

Colorado State

Out: Mike Bobo (28-35 in five seasons)

Hired: Steve Addazio

“Throughout his career, Coach Addazio has been committed to the holistic development of student-athletes and of the programs he has led,” Colorado State Director of Athletics Joe Parker said in a statement. “He has focused on crafting cultures where his students thrive on the field and in the classroom. We look forward to Coach Addazio leading our football team as we strive to be the preeminent program in the Mountain West.”

Florida State

Fired: Willie Taggart (9-12 in less than two seasons)

Hired: Mike Norvell

Norvell will bring his predilection for high-scoring offenses from Memphis, where only Oklahoma, Ohio State and Alabama averaged more points per game than the Tigers over his four seasons. Memphis went 38-15 in that span and won three straight American Athletic Conference West division titles, and on Saturday the 17th-ranked Tigers won the AAC championship with a 29-24 victory over No. 20 Cincinnati.

Although some Seminoles players wanted Odell Haggins — a Florida State lifer who has gone 4-1 in two separate stints as its interim coach — to be given the job on a permanent basis, the school had been looking for a bigger name.

Fresno State

Stepping down: Jeff Tedford

Tedford, 58, is expected to step down Friday because of health reasons, according to multiple reports. He’s gone 26-14 in three seasons at his alma mater — 22-6 his first two seasons — with two bowl wins. Tedford previously had heart problems in 2014 while an assistant for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.


Fired: Matt Luke (15-21 in three seasons)

Hired: Lane Kiffin

Lane Kiffin is headed back to the SEC, taking over a struggling Ole Miss program in desperate need of a jolt. Kiffin, whose Florida Atlantic team romped to a Conference USA title on Saturday, started his college head coaching career in the SEC at Tennessee before moving on to USC and then Florida Atlantic. (He also served as Alabama’s offensive coordinator for three years before taking the Florida Atlantic job.) He spent three seasons in Boca Raton, racking up a 26-13 record with Florida Atlantic and twice winning the Conference USA title. The Owls crushed UAB, 49-6, on Saturday.


Fired: Barry Odom (25-25 in four seasons)

Hired: Eli Drinkwitz

Appalachian State Coach Eli Drinkwitz has reached an agreement to coach the Tigers and was finalizing a deal Sunday, per ESPN. The 36-year-old Drinkwitz, whose coached the Mountaineers for just one season, is the second-youngest coach in FBS, older than only Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley. Drinkwitz reportedly will make $4 million per year, a more than 400 percent raise over his previous salary.

New Mexico

Resigned: Bob Davie (35-64 in eight seasons)

Davie led the Lobos to a nine-win season and a bowl victory in 2016 but went 8-28 in three seasons since then.

Old Dominion

Resigned: Bobby Wilder (77-56 after 11 seasons)

Wilder, who shepherded the Monarchs’ program into existence and then oversaw its ascendance from FCS to FBS, stepped down Monday after three straight losing seasons, the final one a 1-11 campaign.


Fired: Chris Ash (8-32 in less than four seasons)

Hired: Greg Schiano

After initial negotiations fell apart, Rutgers announced Sunday that Schiano would return to the program he coached from 2001 to 2011, finding success rarely seen on the Banks of the Old Raritan (bowl appearances in six of his final seven seasons and a No. 7 national ranking in 2006). The New Jersey native has a massive task ahead of him, as Rutgers is in no way close to competitive in the Big Ten.

South Florida

Fired: Charlie Strong (21-16 in three seasons)

Hired: Jeff Scott

Scott, who turns 39 later this month, was plucked from Clemson, though he reportedly will continue to help the Tigers as they compete in the College Football Playoff. A Florida native and Clemson graduate, he has worked on Clemson’s football staff since 2008, rising through the ranks to become the co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach for a perennial powerhouse. Scott is also credited with recruiting and coaching several of the standout players who have fueled the Tigers’ dominance.


Fired: Tony Sanchez (20-40 in five seasons)

With a move to the new Oakland Raiders stadium on the horizon, UNLV decided to look elsewhere after winning no more than five games in Sanchez’s tenure.


Fired: Frank Wilson (19-29 in four seasons)

The Roadrunners won’t be hiring former Baylor coach Art Briles. Athletic Director Lisa Campos said he isn’t a candidate because of how he handled sexual assault allegations with the Bears.


Stepping down: Chris Petersen (54-26 in six seasons)

Promoted to head coach: Jimmy Lake

Washington stunned the college football world, announcing that Petersen is stepping down to “recharge,” as he said in a statement. Lake, who garnered interest from Colorado last year, has been on Petersen’s Washington staff since 2014 and was promoted to co-defensive coordinator in 2016.

The candidates

Many of the following names are going to be linked to multiple openings.

Luke Fickell, Cincinnati: Urban Meyer’s former defensive coordinator at Ohio State is 21-5 over the past two seasons with the Bearcats.

Billy Napier, Louisiana: The Cajuns are 10-3 after a loss to Appalachian State in the Sun Belt title game on Saturday. Napier has spent time on the coaching staffs at Alabama and Clemson, and at 40 he’s another young, offensive-minded coach who will garner a lot of attention, so much that Louisiana officials reportedly are preparing for his departure.

Willie Fritz, Tulane: Fritz is 59, a good bit older than most of the names on this list, but he’s also the first coach to lead the Green Wave to consecutive non-losing seasons since Tommy Bowden in the late 1990s. If you can win at Tulane, you probably can win anywhere.

Bill Clark, UAB: Clark has gone a remarkable 34-17 as the Blazers’ coach, a tenure that included two seasons without football after the school shuttered the program.

Josh Heupel, Central Florida: Heupel was Missouri’s offensive coordinator for one season before taking the Knights’ job, and he’s 21-4 over two seasons. But UCF might be a better job right now than some of the Power Five openings.

Joe Brady, LSU passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach: Only 30, Brady will be a hot commodity after his night-and-day transformation of the Tigers’ offense.

Tony Elliott, Clemson co-offensive coordinator, and Brent Venables, Clemson defensive coordinator: Venables won the Broyles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant, in 2016, and Elliott won it the next year. They’ve been on Dabo Swinney’s coaching staff for years and probably are just waiting for the right opportunities.

Staying put

Kevin Sumlin, Arizona: Athletic Director Dave Heeke said Saturday night that Sumlin — 9-15 in two seasons in Tucson and coach of a team that lost seven straight games to end the season — is “our head football coach” heading into the 2020 season. Sumlin’s $10 million buyout might have something to do with that.

Randy Edsall, Connecticut: Despite records of 2-10, 1-11 and 3-9 in his return to Storrs, U-Conn. Athletic Director David Benedict said Edsall will be back in 2020.

Tom Allen, Indiana: Indiana announced Friday that Allen has a new seven-year, $27.3 million deal that will run through the 2026 season.

Matt Campbell, Iowa State: Iowa State announced Tuesday that Campbell had signed a contract extension through the 2025 season. He reportedly had been targeted by a few college teams — Florida State and Arkansas, specifically — and attracted the attention of NFL teams.

Joe Moorhead, Mississippi State: A 6-6 record and a bowl game were enough to keep Moorehead in Starkville for another season.

Doug Martin, New Mexico State: Despite a 22-63 record in Las Cruces, Martin will be back for his eighth season in 2020, AD Mario Moccia said Tuesday.

Clay Helton, Southern Cal: Speculation about Helton’s future and the ripple effects his possible firing could have — considering that the Trojans’ job is one of the most desirable in college football — continued into Wednesday before AD Mike Bohn announced that the 47-year-old coach would stay on, at least for the 2020 season.

Derek Mason, Vanderbilt: Athletic Director Malcolm Turner announced last month that Mason will be back in 2020 even though he has yet to field an above-. 500 team in his six seasons. The Commodores finished 3-9 in 2019.

Mike Leach, Washington State: Leach seemingly is a perennial candidate for open jobs, but Washington State announced Thursday that it has extended his contract through the 2024 season.

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