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How Willie Taggart assembled his first FSU coaching staff: A timeline

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Mission accomplished.

NCAA Football: Independence Bowl-Southern Mississippi vs Florida State Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

It already seems like ages ago that Willia Taggart took over as the head coach at Florida State (at least, it sure does if you’ve covered the team for the past month or two of speculation and rumors). And while there’s plenty of optimism surrounding Taggart’s hire, plenty of work awaiting the new head man in Tallahassee. One such task: revamping — okay, pretty much replacing — a largely tired coaching staff.

Well, Taggart’s staff has now been filled out. Along with the links below that correspond to each individual hire, the subsequent tracker is a rather interestingly time-stamped journal of this long, strange, and now, finally, completed process.

Coaching Hires Made:


Chronological Updates:

12/5/17 Update:

It looks like Taggart might not be the only one coming home. Tallahassee native Ron Dugans was a star WR for the Seminoles in the late 90s, and while he’s currently the Miami WRs coach, he was also Taggart’s receivers coach at USF.

12/12/17 Update:

A familiar name has emerged as a possibility at the QB coach spot in Tallahassee:

12/18/17 Update:

We knew Randy Sanders was out as FSU’s QB coach, and we now know where he’s going.

12/21/17 Update:

Now that we know that Lawrence Dawsey will not return as Florida State’s WRs coach, here’s a follow-up on the Dugans rumors: just as Jimbo Fisher declined comment prior to leaving FSU for Texas A&M, so is Dugans opting not to address rumors that he could be heading home to Tallahassee.

12/27/17 Update:

Charles Kelly is reportedly out as FSU’s defensive coordinator and secondary coach, and we know that Jim Leavitt is remaining as Oregon’s DC, so it’s time to consider some other candidates.

As far as possible DB coaches go, the name of FSU great Terrell Buckley has been floated. Buckley has been the safeties coach at Mississippi State since 2016, and he took to social media to show his support for the Seminoles after their bowl win.

And another ’Nole legend is being discussed as well: Deion Sanders. Sanders gave a pregame address to Florida State’s players ahead of the Independence Bowl.

Sanders then observed the FSU win from the sideline and was interviewed. When asked about perhaps returning to the Seminoles, he had this to say, while wearing his Florida State letterman’s jacket:

As far as offensive developments go, Oregon’s director of recruiting, David Kelly, was seen next to Taggart on multiple occasions during the Independence Bowl. He’s a QB coach who could very well be a candidate for this staff, and he has made coaching stops in the southeast at Georgia, LSU, Georgia Tech, and UCF.

12/28/17 Update:

We can scratch off a couple more assistant coach possibilities:

Charles Clark, a Florida native who coaches corners at Oregon, now seems less likely as a hire, since he followed Leavitt to Eugene from Boulder and will probably remain on the Ducks’ staff. Wisconsin’s DC and DB coach Jim Leonhard is still in play, but it’s worth mentioning that he’s a Wisconsin native and Badger alum.

Clearwater native and current Michigan run-game coordinator Greg Frey has been rumored to be in the fold as FSU’s new OL coach. Frey was an offensive lineman for Florida State’s national championship squad in 1993.

1/1/18 Update:

As we reported on the 27th, David Kelly is indeed bound for FSU, per FootballScoop.com.

1/2/18 Update:

Another hire could be close. We’ve learned that Michigan run-game coordinator and offensive line coach Greg Frey is on campus at FSU. Frey attended Florida State and was part of the 1993 national championship team.

1/3/18 Update:

Miami WRs coach Ron Dugans made the trek to Tally yesterday and remains on campus. As we reported earlier, he’s the top target for the Seminoles at that position.

There’s a new name being bandied about for the defensive staff at FSU:

1/4/18 Update:

FSU got its man up front, hiring Seminole alum Greg Frey away from Michigan to coach the offensive line.

1/5/18 Update:

At last, the ’Noles have a new defensive coordinator: Harlon Barnett will be heading to FSU from Michigan State.

We’ve also reported on Florida State’s new strength and conditioning coach, Irele Oderinde.

Alonzo Hampton is also joining the staff. He’ll coach defensive backs and special teams.

1/8/18 Update:

Former Seminole great Ron Dugans will remain the wide receivers coach at Miami, turning down an offer from Florida State.

In light of that news, Bud Elliott thinks Purdue’s JaMarcus Shephard is a possibility.

1/9/18 Update:

There’s been plenty of chatter about Alabama co-OC/WR coach, Mike Locksley, as WR coach. We can report he’s definitely a serious candidate, although it’s thought he doesn’t want to come to FSU unless he gets a bigger title, as well.

1/11/18 Update:

The defensive ends coach spot has been filled. As reported, Mark Snyder will follow Barnett from East Lansing to Tallahassee.

1/16/18 Update:

Lockley whispers have abated, and it now looks, as was discussed on the Nolecast, like the hire at offensive coordinator could be Maryland OC Walt Bell.

Also, one name that was being tossed around as a possible DB assistant, that of Lance Guidry, has been withdrawn from consideration.

We’re done here, folks: FSU has named David Kelly its WRs coach, and Walt Bell has been lured away from Maryland to be the Seminoles new offensive coordinator and QBs coach. Florida State’s staff is now complete.