Clemson University

What Clemson’s Dabo Swinney said about FSU firing Willie Taggart

Florida State fired head coach Willie Taggart on Sunday, a day after the Seminoles suffered a 27-10 home loss to Miami.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney responded to the news during his teleconference Sunday afternoon.

“I hate it. I think Willie is a heck of a guy, heck of a coach. But for whatever reason it just didn’t work out. Unfortunately this is the time of year where you start to see some of that type of stuff,” Swinney said. “Wish him all the best... I have a lot of respect for him.”

Taggart went 9-12 during his time at Florida State, including 6-9 in the ACC. He took over at FSU for Jimbo Fisher, who is now at Texas A&M.

Taggart was hired at Florida State after going 7-5 (4-5) in one season at Oregon. The Seminoles went 7-6 (3-5) the year before Taggart arrived.

“I’ve been doing this a long time. I know how hard it is to win,” Swinney said. “If we can win this week that’d be our ninth 10-plus win season (in a row) and I think it’d be the third longest in the history of college football. It is hard to win, and especially win consistently.”

Clemson has won five consecutive games against Florida State, and the Tigers outscored FSU 104-24 the past two years with Taggart as the head coach. The winner of the Clemson-Florida State game has won the ACC each of the past eight years. That number can move to nine consecutive years if Clemson wins the ACC this season.

“It just is a challenge every single year. Certainly when you see a team like Florida State, it can happen to anybody. It really can. It can happen to anybody,” Swinney said. “Alabama, as great as they’ve been, they’ve had their times as well kind of up and down. It’s just really hard. That’s probably the thing over the last decade that I’m more proud of than anything is just consistency. We’re not going to win the league every year. We’re not going to win the national championship every year. But to be a consistent team and a team that always has a chance, I think that’s where all programs strive to be.”

Florida State had won at least nine games for seven consecutive years, including the national championship in 2013, before going 7-6 in Fisher’s last year in 2017.

“Florida State, they’re a great program,” Swinney said. “Certainly this is a tough time for them, but no doubt they’ll be a great program again at some point.”

Matt Connolly is the Clemson beat writer and covers recruiting and college sports for The State newspaper and The State.com
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