At least Manatee High football fans had one reason to rejoice Friday night.
Willie Taggart, the quarterback on the Hurricanes’ 1992 state title-winning team, will be named the new head football coach at the University of South Florida, according to several media outlets, including the Tampa Bay Times.
Taggart has guided Western Kentucky, where he also played quarterback, for the past three seasons. The Hilltoppers improved from two wins in his first campaign to seven each of the past two seasons. Western Kentucky will meet Central Michigan in the Little Caesars Bowl on Dec. 26 in Detroit.
No official announcement has been made by either Western Kentucky or USF, but a news conference is expected on Saturday.
Taggart would become the third coach in USF school history, following Jim Leavitt and Skip Holtz. Holtz was fired Sunday after three seasons.
Taggart, a quarterback at Manatee High and Western Kentucky, got a high-profile endorsement from San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh.
“Any football program would be very lucky to have Willie Taggart as their head coach.” Harbaugh said earlier this week.
Taggart was a key member of Harbaugh’s staff at Stanford when the Cardinal went from doormat to national power and engineered the historic upset of USC as a 41-point underdog in 2007.
Ray Woodie, a former Bayshore and Palmetto head coach, is an assistant at WKU and would likely follow Taggart to USF.