Oregon hires Willie Taggart as head coach

Oregon's search to replace fired coach Mark Helfrich didn't last long. Barely more than a week after deciding to make a change, the Ducks hired South Florida's Willie Taggart as their new coach.

"Willie places an emphasis on ensuring a positive student-athlete experience and on winning, and his previous stops have proven his success at both. We have a very bright future under his leadership," OU athletic director Rob Mullens said in a school release.

Taggart took over a struggling USF program in 2013 and went 2-10 in his first season, but turned the program around and reached the Miami Beach Bowl last year. The Bulls had their best season under Taggart in 2016, going 10-2 with a bid to the Birmingham Bowl.

In tapping Taggart, Oregon has hired a coach who learned the profession under the Harbaugh family. He played and coached for Jack Harbaugh at Western Kentucky, then went on to become the running backs coach at Stanford under Jim Harbaugh. From there, he returned to WKU as head coach and led the Hilltoppers to two consecutive bowl appearances before taking the USF job.

Since winning the Pac-12 Championship and reaching the College Football Playoff with Marcus Mariota at quarterback in 2014, the Ducks program has been trending down under Helfrich. UO went 9-3 in 2015 and tumbled to 4-8 this season, plugging FCS transfers in at the quarterback position at the outset of both seasons. UO reportedly was also interested in hiring Matt Rhule of Temple, who accepted the Baylor job on Tuesday.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter *@ChaseGoodbread*.

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