Florida State fires football coach Willie Taggart

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2019

Florida State head coach Willie Taggart, center, tries to separate his team from the Miami team at midfield after Miami defeated Florida State in an NCAA college football game in Tallahassee, Fla., Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Florida State has fired Willie Taggart, the move coming a day after the Seminoles lost to rival Miami and with the team in danger of missing a bowl for the second consecutive season.

Taggart was 9-12 in parts of two seasons at Florida State, which won the national title in 2013 and has been in a freefall for the last three seasons. The Seminoles have not been ranked this season, have played sloppily and undisciplined under Taggart, and attendance figures have plummeted.

"We had no choice but to make a change," Florida State President John Thrasher said Sunday in a news release.

The school said longtime Florida State assistant Odell Haggins has been asked to take over as interim coach for the remaining three games. Haggins was 2-0 as the interim in 2017, after Jimbo Fisher left Florida State for Texas A&M late in the 2017 season.

"We still have a lot of faith," Florida State linebacker Emmett Rice said Saturday. "We have a lot to play for. It's not over just because we lost to Miami."

For Taggart, it is over.

Florida State (4-5) plays at Boston College on Saturday, and likely needs to win that game to have any chance of becoming bowl-eligible. The Seminoles end their regular season against Florida, a game where they will be decided underdogs, and play Alabama State in between.

"I spoke to Coach Taggart this afternoon to let him know of our decision," Florida State athletic director David Coburn said Sunday. "I met with the team and coaches immediately after that conversation to let them know of the change. It was very important to us that the student-athletes know right away."