Willie Taggart Named Head Coach at Western Kentucky

Nov. 23, 2009

STANFORD, Calif. - Willie Taggart, who has served as the running backs coach at Stanford since 2007, has been named head football coach at Western Kentucky University, it was announced today.

Prior to his appointment at Stanford spent eight seasons as an assistant coach at WKU from 1999-2006 and served as co-offensive coordinator for WKU's 2002 I-AA National Championship team. A standout player at quarterback who set 11 school records for the Hilltoppers from 1995-98, Taggart is one of only four players in WKU's 91-year football history to have his jersey retired. He becomes WKU's 17th head football coach, but only the seventh since 1948.

Taggart has been instrumental in the development of the Stanford offense and running game. Stanford leads the Pac 10 in total offense (436.5 ypg.) while ranking second in the conference and 13th in the nation in rushing offense (219.3 ypg.). With 2,412 rushing yards on the season, Stanford needs 70 team rushing yards against Notre Dame this Saturday to break the school's single-season rushing yardage mark that has stood since 1949 (2,481).

'Willie Taggart is a tremendous football coach and teacher,' said Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh. 'He has great enthusiasm and is deathly loyal, and he is the perfect man for Western Kentucky. I feel the pride of an older brother today.'

Taggart also spent his collegiate playing days at WKU (1995-98) and was only the third WKU athlete in the past half-century to hold down the quarterback slot for the Hilltoppers for four straight years. Taggart - who set 11 WKU school records - had his jersey retired on October 23, 1999. He currently is WKU's all-time leader in rushing touchdowns (47), ranks second in scoring (286 points), pass efficiency rating (127.71) and rushing yards (3,997), is tied for third in most 100-yard rushing games (17), and is tied for fourth in touchdown passes (30). His rushing yards were the most in NCAA Division I history at the time for a quarterback.In each of his last two collegiate seasons, he was a finalist for the prestigious Walter Payton Award which is an honor given annually to the top offensive player in I-AA football. Taggart finished fourth in the balloting in 1997 and seventh as a senior the following year. An All-American as a senior, he was also the 1998 I-AA Independents' Offensive Player of the Year. Taggart was recruited to WKU by Jim Harbaugh to play for his father, Jack.

Taggart graduated from WKU with a bachelor's degree in social sciences in 1998.

As a prep standout at Manatee (Fla.) High School, he was a first team all-state and all-conference selection as a senior after guiding the Hurricanes to the state 5A Championship game. He led MHS to the state title his junior season and helped the school post a 26-4 record during that two-year span while recording more than 3,000 yards passing and 975 yards on the ground.

Taggart and his wife Taneshia have two children, Willie Jr. and Jackson.

Western Kentucky University contributed to this release.

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