Willie Taggart won the press conference, but not in a way I’ve grown used to.
Florida State provided the traditional pomp and grandeur, wanting the world to know we’ve found our guy, just like a new bride ready to show the world her husband.
We had the band hyping folks up, playing all the traditional songs with a little extra kick. You saw a police escort with Taggart who immediately went to the band for a Tomahawk Chop with rhythm – something I noticed University president John Thrasher try to do, slightly off. He’s 70-plus so that’s cool, he’ll catch the beat eventually.
We saw strong fan support as well.
What was different – and surprising and enjoyable – was that we actually got to know Taggart in this press conference.
I’ve received numerous questions over the last month since bringing up Taggart’s name as a potential candidate in the Florida coaching search.
“Who is he?”
“Why do kids like him?”
“What about his record?” (47-50 as a head coach in eight seasons)
“Can he coach?”
“What kind of man is he?”
That last question is almost never truly answered in press conferences. So that’s what I went to Tallahassee to find out.
“Who is our new Chief?” And I’m less concerned with whether or not I personally like him, I want to know if I could envision myself playing for him? I’ll address that at the end.
These statements by Taggart most stood out to me.
“Growing up, I always wanted to be a Nole.”
Taggart was an FSU fan before he was a coach. Who better to keep, and reintroduce old traditions, than someone who has seen the program be built up and evolve over the years. One aspect that most appeals to Florida State folks about Taggart is that while many qualified coaches inquired about this job, he’s the only one who pegged this as his dream job.
“I know (there’s) a lot of kids out there who still want to be a Nole, I’m gonna’ go and find them.”
How can you not love that?
“This is not a rebuild, it’s a realignment.”
© 2016, gridironnow.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.