FAU has fired coach Willie Taggart, ending a three-year run that featured just one postseason appearance and a 15-18 overall record. Taggart, who not too long ago was considered an up-and-coming coach in the ranks, was fired following a 32-31 overtime loss to Western Kentucky, dropping the Owls to 5-7 and sending them home for the holidays for the second straight season. 

"This evening, we made a change in leadership with the Florida Atlantic University football program," athletic director Brian White said in a statement. "It was a difficult decision, as we have tremendous respect for Willie Taggart. He has represented FAU with class and character. However, the lack of on-field success needed to be addressed as we look toward the future." 

Taggart's successful stints at Western Kentucky and South Florida earned him the title of program-builder, but he experienced a meteoric rise in the coaching ranks by landing the Oregon job for the 2017 season, only to be hired away one year later by Florida State to succeed Jimbo Fisher; however, his 9-12 record earned him the boot after fewer than two full seasons in Tallahassee. 

FAU gave him a fresh start after former coach Lane Kiffin left to take the job at Ole Miss, and Taggart delivered with a Montgomery Bowl appearance in his first season. However, Taggart's program atrophied over the past two seasons, both of which ended in losing records. 

Of the six programs headed to the American Athletic Conference in 2023, FAU becomes the third to make a coaching change. Charlotte went out of the box by nabbing former Maryland high school coach Biff Poggi, now an off-field associate head coach under Jim Harbaugh at Michigan. Longtime UAB coach Bill Clark retired before the season due to health concerns, and interim Bryant Vincent likely will not receive the full-time job after the Blazers limped to a 6-6 record. FAU will be a fascinating job in the Group of Five market as the Owls found great success under retread coach Kiffin, but failed with Taggart.