The bad news for the Oregon Ducks Tuesday afternoon was that they were jilted by football coach Willie Taggart. They were dumped. And just when it appeared he was about to bring in the best recruiting class in school history.
The good news for the Oregon Ducks is that this happens everywhere. And just because it happened to you doesn't mean you aren't the big-time football school you think you are.
You think it happens only to you?
Guess what? The only reason Willie Taggart got his dreamy Florida State job is that Jimbo Fisher fled it for Texas A&M. One man's dream job is another man's stepping stone. It happens all the time. Coaches, just like salesmen, day laborers, journalists and just about everyone else, leave for greener pastures. The day I heard Mike Riley was leaving Oregon State for Nebraska my first thought was "What? He left his dream job in his hometown?"
But I don't care what job you have, there's always a better one out there. And usually, you go for it.
Duck fans are more upset with losing that recruiting class than the coach. But that was still just a bit of a mirage with Taggart -- a slight-of-hand trick to take people's minds off the season his team was having. Look -- those players had committed verbally and were not yet signed. Until they sign, it means little. And they were coming from a warm climate a long way away, which means you can't ever be sure they'll stay once they find out what the weather is like here. Or what it's like to be so far from home.
Best thing to do is forget that recruiting class. Don't get so worried about it that you make a hasty coaching hire that's going to set you back for years.
I have no problem with Taggart chasing his dream job but I thought he could have handled his departure better. I'm still not sure what sort of game coach he was but there were signs he wasn't the best. The most laudable thing he did in Eugene was assemble a terrific coaching staff.
Naming a head coach as soon as possible should have a high priority. A new staff may be able to salvage some of those recruits.
The takeaway from this is simple. Just because you get dumped doesn't mean you aren't worthy. And even if you are worthy, you can get dumped. Sometimes you are the step and sometimes you are the stone.
Shake it off and move forward.