Western Kentucky football coach Willie Taggart is leaving his alma mater for his hometown and USF. Multiple sources indicated Friday evening Taggart, 36, has accepted the Bulls' head coaching position.
Taggart inherited an 0-12 team in its second year at the Football Bowl Subdivision. Three years later WKU put together consecutive 7-5 campaigns and is scheduled to play in the 2012 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl on Dec. 26 in Detroit.
A former Hilltopper quarterback, Taggart is 16-20 overall as a head coach. That mark includes going 13-11 in the Sun Belt Conference, 11-3 when his team leads at the half, 15-5 when they lead after three quarters, 4-1 in overtime and 11-2 when they score at least 30 points.
Conversely, his teams are 3-13 when down at the half, 1-14 when down after three quarters and 3-13 when surrendering at least 30 points.
Taggarts 16 wins are against teams with a current combined record of 63-129. Four opponents from 2012 still have one bowl game remaining.
South Florida fired Skip Holtz on Dec. 3 after USF finished the season 3-9. The Bulls were 5-16 in conference play under Holtz and 16-21 overall. His buyout was a reported $2.5 million over five years.
Taggart's current contract gave him a base salary of $475,000 whereas Holtz was making $2 million per year. The Daily News learned last month that a local campaign to raise an undisclosed amount of private funds to keep Taggart was under way. It's unknown at this time if that package was ever presented to Taggart.