December 11th coaching moves

FAU hires Willie Taggart to be next coach
Willie Taggart has another chance, and Florida Atlantic's search for Lane Kiffin's replacement is over. Taggart was hired by FAU on Wednesday, a week before the early signing day and only four days after Kiffin left the Owls for Mississippi. "I'm looking forward to long-term success here," Taggart said in a statement distributed by the university Wednesday night. "I think our players and the university deserve that commitment." FAU said it was a five-year contract. The school did not immediately disclose financial terms. Kiffin was 26-13 in three seasons at FAU, winning two Conference USA championships and breathing new life into a moribund program before leaving last week to take over at Mississippi. His hiring in 2016 was a splashy one, after past stints as a head coach - at Tennessee and with the NFL's Oakland Raiders - didn't work out as he hoped. Taggart could use a similar resume revival. He's been to one bowl game in 10 seasons as a head coach, with a 56-62 record. Florida State fired him in November after a 27-10 loss to Miami. "I couldn't be more excited to have coach Taggart on board to lead our football program," FAU athletic director Brian White said. "Coach Taggart is a proven program builder who will develop strong relationships with our student-athletes and develop them as future leaders. His deep relationships around the state of Florida and the nation will be vital in recruiting as well." Taggart is the fourth prominent coach who was at a Power 5 school this season, got fired and then found his next opportunity relatively quickly. Chad Morris was fired at Arkansas, then hired as Auburn's offensive coordinator. Matt Luke was fired at Ole Miss, then got hired as associate head coach at Georgia. Steve Addazio, who was at Boston College, was hired Wednesday at Colorado State. And now Taggart is at FAU, which will be his fourth school in less than four years. He was at South Florida from 2013 through 2016, then Oregon in 2017, Florida State for the last two seasons and now takes over as Kiffin's replacement with about a week left until early signing day. Taggart started his career as a head coach at Western Kentucky, going 16-20 in three seasons. He was 24-25 in four seasons at USF, 7-5 in his lone season at Oregon and 9-12 in parts of two seasons at Florida State.

Colorado State hires Steve Addazio as football coach
One of the criteria Colorado State had for its next football coach was experience. The Rams checked that box with the hiring of Steve Addazio. Addazio agreed to a five-year contract Wednesday, with a base salary of $1.5 million in the first year and with a $50,000 increase each year of the deal. The 60-year-old Addazio wasn't out of work long after being fired by Boston College on Dec. 1. He was 44-44 in seven seasons with the Eagles. Addazio replaces Mike Bobo, who parted ways with the program last week after reaching a financial settlement with Colorado State. Bobo is now the offensive coordinator at South Carolina. At Colorado State, Addazio inherits a team that is coming off a second straight losing season. "Our program will be one built on toughness and passion, and we will work tirelessly to develop men of character to return championship-level football back to Colorado State," Addazio said in a statement. Boston College won seven games in five different seasons under Addazio. The Eagles became bowl-eligible this season by beating Pittsburgh in their final regular-season game. But Addazio never restored the luster to a program that frequently was ranked in the AP Top 25 in the early 2000s. Before arriving at Boston College, Addazio was in charge for two seasons at Temple. And before that, he was an assistant coach on Florida teams that won national championships during the 2006 and `08 seasons. While at Florida, he worked with Urban Meyer, who's been seen around Colorado State athletic director Joe Parker during the hiring process.

UNLV tabs Oregon offensive coordinator Arroyo as next coach
UNLV has hired Oregon offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo as its next head football coach. Athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois announced Wednesday that Arroyo will succeed Tony Sanchez, who was fired Nov. 25 after going 19-40 in five seasons. The 39-year-old Arroyo led an Oregon offense that was 15th nationally in scoring this season and he helped the Ducks land the Pac-12's top-ranked recruiting class the past two seasons. UNLV is looking to raise the profile of its football program with the Rebels set to begin playing home games in the stadium being built for the NFL’s Oakland Raiders, who are moving to Las Vegas for next season. The school also opened a $34 million on-campus football complex this fall. “UNLV Athletics is a department on the rise, and my family and I are thrilled to be a part of the Rebel family during this special time,” Arroyo said in a statement. “The uniqueness of Las Vegas is unrivaled and the opportunity to train, practice, and compete, in some of the country’s best facilities in one of the world’s most vibrant cities cannot be understated. We will work tirelessly to elevate UNLV football to the championship caliber program that it is positioned to be.” Arroyo served as Oregon's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach the past three seasons. He previously coached running backs at Oklahoma State, was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' interim offensive coordinator in 2014 and was the offensive coordinator at Southern Mississippi the year before. A former San Jose State quarterback, Arroyo also had stints with California, Wyoming and his alma mater. He was a graduate assistant at San Jose State in 2005 after serving as the offensive coordinator at Prairie View A&M. His playing career coincided with Reed-Francois' tenure as director of compliance at San Jose State. “It’s remarkable to see things come full circle 20 years later,” Reed-Francois said, “We set out to find a teacher and a competitor with the character, competence, energy and intellect to bring out the best in our 105 young men and recruit and develop the next group of Rebel football student-athletes. We looked for a leader that is a great evaluator of talent, who can sell what makes UNLV, our community, and our program unique, and helps develop and prepare our student-athletes for the next level.”

Liberty. Freeze agree to new multiyear contract
Liberty University and first-year football coach Hugh Freeze have agreed to a new multiyear contract extension. School president Jerry Fallwell Jr. announced the move on Tuesday. Freeze guided the Flames to a 7-5 record and a berth in the Cure Bowl, their first bowl game, in their first year eligible at the FBS level. The Flames will face play Georgia Southern (7-5) on Dec. 21 in Orlando, Florida. "We are looking forward to a long relationship that will continue to make Liberty football mega-successful as envisioned for the program decades ago!" Fallwell's tweet said. Details of the contract were not available but athletic director Ian McCaw said it is "competitive with top Group of Five head coaches and it offers Liberty's football program stability as we become established at the FBS level." Freeze, 50, came to Liberty after coach Turner Gill resigned after last season. Freeze had been out of coaching for two years before accepting the job at Liberty. He resigned his position at Mississippi in July 2017 under a cloud of NCAA sanctions and questionable personal conduct.


December 11, 2019