South Florida's Willie Taggart will become Oregon's new head football coach, a source has confirmed, ending a week-long search to replace Mark Helfrich.
ESPN's Brett McMurphy first reported the news.
Taggart, 40, is expected to be officially announced today.
Taggart has a 40-45 record with stints at Western Kentucky (16-20) and South Florida (20-25). But don't let his record fool you. Taggart rebuilt both programs, elevating Western Kentucky from 2-10 his first year in 2010 to 7-5 over the next two seasons. He then moved on to South Florida where he went 2-10, 4-8, 8-4 and then 10-2 this season.
Taggart, who served as Stanford's running backs coach under Jim Harbaugh from 2007-2009, is a risky hire with potentially great upside. Oregon sought to replace Helfrich (37-16 over four seasons) with a more experienced coach from a Power Five conference, but efforts fell through.
Helfrich guided the Ducks to the national title game during the 2014 season, but this year saw his program fall to 4-8, resulting in his dismissal on Nov. 29.
Taggart's South Florida offense this season ranks 10th in the nation (515 yards per game) and seventh in scoring (43.6). But his team ranks 120th in total defense (482.1 yards per game) and 86th in scoring defense (31.0).
Taggart played quarterback at Western Kentucky from 1995 through 1998. He was a finalist for the Division I-AA Walter Payton award his final two seasons.