Oregon Ducks

Oregon Ducks

Oregon coach Willie Taggart tweeted tonight that his father, John Taggart has passed away. 

John Taggart had been ill for several weeks, according to Taggart, who flew back to Tampa to be with him prior to Pac-12 Media Days two weeks ago and again last weekend before returning Tuesday for an evening practice. 

Taggart credits his father for influencing his work ethic. John Taggart worked more than 30 years for a Darlene's Shells in Palmetto, Fla.  The company cleans and prepares seashells, starfish, etc., for sale on the open market. He continued to work there despite his son going on to become a highly-paid college football coach.

"If he didn't go to work, he wouldn't know what to do with himself," Willie Taggart, the youngest of five children, said. 

According to Willie Taggart, even after John Taggart was recently admitted into the hospital, he told family that he needed to get to get back to his job because a big shipment of shells were on the way in. 

Willie Taggart worked at Darlene's as a teenager in the summers as his parents, including Gloria Taggart, always stressed the value of hard work.  


"Mom and dad taught me how to work," Willie Taggart said. "That's for sure. That's something my parents always did. They always worked. They never made any excuses about anything. My mom and dad always found a way to put food on the table for us."

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, a close friend and mentor of Willie Taggart, tweeted out the following...

John Taggart, during an interview with CSN several weeks ago in Palmetto, said that he nervously watch Willie Taggart play quarterback as a child because he was so thin. John Taggart would urge his son to run as fast as possible in order to avoid getting injured.

John Taggart was very much looking forward to being in Eugene for Oregon's opening game Sept. 2 against Southern Utah. 

(more to come)