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                === USF hires Taggart as head football coach ===
 
 Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - The University of South Florida has hired Western
 Kentucky's Willie Taggart as its new head football coach.
 
 Taggart  coached  WKU to  a record  of 16-20 over  the previous three seasons,
 including  a  7-5 mark this  year. The  Hilltoppers will play Central Michigan
 in  the Little  Caesars Pizza Bowl on  Dec. 26.
 
 Western  Kentucky director  of athletics Todd Stewart announced that defensive
 coordinator  Lance  Guidry will take  over as the  interim head coach and will
 lead the Hilltoppers in the bowl game.
 
 "Obviously,  we are very disappointed that Coach Taggart will no longer be our
 head  football coach,"  Stewart  said. "He  did  a tremendous  job  for WKU  -
 inheriting  a program with a 20-game losing streak before posting back to back
 7-5  records in  his  second and  third  seasons.  We had  a  landmark win  in
 Lexington  over the  University of  Kentucky, and  we were  the only  Sun Belt
 Conference  school to defeat Arkansas State. And, as everyone knows, this past
 Sunday  our  program earned our first  ever bowl appearance as a Football Bowl
 Subdivision member."
 
 This  marks a  return to  the  Tampa area  for Taggart.  A former  quarterback
 at WKU, Taggart was a prep standout at Manatee High School in Bradenton.
 
 Prior to his time at WKU, Taggart was the running backs coach at Stanford from
 2007-09.  He also  spent  eight seasons  as  an assistant  coach  at WKU  from
 1999-2006.
 
 Taggart  replaces  Skip Holtz, who was  fired last Sunday. The Bulls completed
 the  2012  campaign, their third  under Holtz's  direction, with a 3-9 record.
 South Florida went just 5-16 in Big East play and 16-21 overall during Holtz's
 tenure, which began in January of 2010 after the university hired the 48-year-
 old following a successful five-year stint with East Carolina.
 
 "I  always  said I wouldn't  leave WKU unless  I had a chance  to go and win a
 national  championship,  and I truly  believe that  can be done here," Taggart
 said.  "It wasn't long ago USF was No. 2 in the country. It's been proven that
 we  can get there. What we have to do now is put everybody on the bus, put 'em
 in the right seat and let coach T drive this bus!"
 
 
 
 12/08 19:37:06 ET