Over the break, the new face of the USF football program has begun to take form.
Since head coach Willie Taggart was hired, four new coaches have been added to the staff. The new faces on the sideline next fall include Walt Wells,
Raymond Woodie, Nick Sheridan, and Robert Weiner.
Head coach: Willie Taggart
Hired six days after former USF coach Skip Holtz_now coach of the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs_was fired, Willie Taggarts arrival has galvanized the fan base.
A graduate of Western Kentucky University with a bachelors degree in social sciences, Taggart started his coaching career at his alma mater in 1999 with the WKUs wide receivers.
In 2000, he moved to coaching quarterbacks, a trend that he would keep with Western Kentucky as he went on to become the co-offensive coordinator while still overseeing the quarterback position. After just another year, Taggart became the assistant head coach of the
In his years moving around in the ranks at WKU, Taggart had an overall record of 67-31. With a near 70 percent winning percentage as an assistant coach, Taggart served as running backs coach for Stanford.
In his three years with Stanford, Taggart had a record of 17-20. However, during his years there, Stanford had a running game that was ranked second in the Pac-10 conference for rushing in 2008. In his last season with the Cardinals, the ground game broke a school single season record with 2,692 yards.
Taggart returned to WKU tobecome a head coach for the first time in his career. Back at his alma mater, Taggart helped the Hilltoppers to win 12 of 14 games
between the end of the 2011 season and the beginning of 2012, losing only to two No.1 ranked teams
Alabama and LSU.
Now taking the helm of the USF football team, Taggart will look to construct yet another huge turnaround season similar to what he did with the Hilltoppers just three years ago.
Offensive coordinator/offensive line: Walt Wells
Wells began his career in Tennessee at the high school level as an assistant coach, later moving on to another Tennessee school in Cumberland at the same position.
His collegiate coaching career started at Eastern Kentucky with the offensive line and tight ends where he spent five years. During those years, he coached seven
all-league players along with anAll-American. EKU ranked in the nations Top 10, during Wells last two years there.
In 2003, Wells went to the opposite side of Kentucky to coach alongside Taggart as Western Kentuckys offensive line coach. In addition to his line helping WKU to breaking records in both points and total yards, Wells line allowed only 13 sacks in 13 games.
During his 10-year stay at WKU, Wells and the Hilltopper offense experience much success.
In 2005, WKU averaged 30.8 points and 405.7 yards total offense per game, both ranking in the nations Top 30. Wells also was able to help four WKU offensive linemen to become All-Americans.
Defensive Assistant Coach: Raymond Woodie
Woodie is certainly not new to coaching football, having coached since 1996, but the collegiate level is something that is relatively new to long-time high school coach.
In his many years as a coach on the high school level, Woodie has helped 43 student athletes to sign full athletic scholarships, the most notable being Fabian Washington, who was taken late in the first round of the NFL draft by the Falcons in 2005.
In 1997, Woodie became the youngest head coach in the state of Florida at the age of 23, when he coached for Bayshore High School. The team went to the district
playoffs seven of the ten seasons that Woodie was there.
In 2011, as he made the jump to the next level to become a collegiate level coach, Woodie was in charge of the defensive ends at Western Kentucky University under Taggart. That year the Hilltoppers tied for third in the league in sacks. Woodie moved on to coaching the linebacker position a year later.
Assistant coach (Quarterbacks/Passing game coordinator): Nick Sheridan
The son of Bill Sheridan, the defensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Nick Sheridans coaching career is relatively short.
As a former walk-on quarterback for Michigan in 2006, Nick Sheridan completed 70-148 passes with a couple of touchdowns. Though his athletic career never went past the collegiate level, he coached with Willie Taggart at WKU when the Hilltoppers incredible turnaround season took place.
Sheridan oversaw the
quarterback position during his 2012 season and was an offensive graduate assistant in 2011.
As he joins the Bulls, Sheridan hopes create another effective
passing game with Taggart and a Bulls team that struggled in the pass this past season.
Wide recievers roach: Robert Weiner
Weiner was named the receivers coach Sunday night, announcing his departure from Plant High School to his players.
The hiring of Weiner could hold a heavy value to the Bulls in terms of recruiting locally.
At the age of 47, Weiner spent over a decade as an assistant coach for his alma mater Jesuit High School.
When he moved to become Plants head coach in 2004, Weiner experienced many victories. In nine years at Plant, the Panthers had a total record of 102-19 along with eight playoff berths.
The victories also included four state titles out of his five appearances.