TAMPA, Florida -- Willie Taggart wouldn't interview with USF Athletic Director Doug Woolard for the Bulls head coaching position until he bought a green tie. It just goes to speak to the type of preparation Taggart approaches each moment with. No matter the preparation the Palmetto native went through, he had a hard time holding back the excitement and emotion as he was introduced as the new head football coach at the University of South Florida.
"I'm very, very, very excited to be back home. It's been a long, long time," said Taggart.
The former Manatee High School star quarterback didn't have a hard time conjuring up the words to describe how happy he was to return to the Tampa Bay area as the Bulls' head coach.
"I looked at South Florida as an opportunity to do great things here. I want to build something special here," said Taggart. "I always said I wouldn't leave WKU unless I had a chance to win a national championship and I truly believe that we can get that done here."
Woolard said six days ago, after announcing the firing of then head coach Skip Holtz, he intended on searching around the nation for the right fit. His agenda was to find someone with local ties and a winner.
"I won all my life. I won at high school, I won at college, I won in life, I made it this far," humorously said Taggart.
USF President Judy Genshaft was grinning ear to ear as Woolard introduced Taggart as the third head coach in the programs' history.
"He has deep roots and life-long relationships with in this area and the Tampa Bay community, and together with his genuine passion for leading our football program, makes him a terrific match for us here at USF," said Woolard.
Taggart's hiring has drawn support from more than the USF faithful. Former Buccaneers head coach Tony Dungy was a part of the hiring process and insists Taggart a great fit, especially when it comes to recruiting.
"I think he understands the lay of the land. I think he is going to relate to young men very well and I think he's got kind of a hard-nosed approach to football that is going to work really well. I was really, really impressed," said Dungy.
Taggart promises to hit the ground running on the recruiting trail, but as far as the coaches that will be joining him, that is still unclear. He said he will talk to the current coaches on staff, but is making no promises on retaining their services.
The 36-year-old head coach has agreed to a five-year deal for $5.75 million, averaging $1.15 million annually.