|| Willie Taggart
2007-08 Stanford, Running Backs
1999-2006 Western Kentucky, Assistant Head Coach (2003-06), Quarterbacks (2000-06), Co-Offensive Coordinator (2000-01), Wide Receivers (1999)
Former Western Kentucky standout Willie Taggart begins his third season on the Stanford coaching staff as running backs coach.
Last season, Taggart was at the helm of the Cardinal running game that finished second in the Pac-10 Conference in rushing offense, averaging 199.6 yards a game on the ground. Stanford's season rushing total of 2,395 yards was the second-highest mark in school history, trailing only the 1949 squad that finished with 2,481 yards on the ground.
In addition, Taggart's work with Toby Gerhart helped the junior rush for a single-season school recod of 1,136 yards last season, as Gerhart became just the fifth running back in school history to go over the 1,000-yard mark. Gerhart teamed with backfield mate Anthony Kimble (717 yards) to form the most production single-season running back tandem in school history.
Prior to his arrival at Stanford, Taggart spent the previous eight seasons on the Western Kentucky coaching staff (1999-2006) and helped guide the Hilltoppers to eight consecutive winning campaigns during the stretch. He worked with current Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh in his first three seasons of coaching from 1999-2001. Taggart started his coaching career as Western Kentucky's wide receivers coach in 1999 before working with the quarterbacks from 2000-06. He was also the co-offensive coordinator in 2001 and '02, helping lead the Hilltoppers to the Division I-AA national championship in '02, and was promoted to assistant head coach in 2003.
Under Taggart's guidance, quarterback Justin Haddix set school career records with 8,890 yards of total offense, a 57.1 completion percentage, 50 touchdowns and a 137.28 pass efficiency rating. Haddix also finished his career ranked second all-time on the Hill with 541 completions and 7,929 yards passing. As a senior, he earned All-Gateway Football Conference honorable mention recognition for the second year in a row after completing a career-high 171 of his 279 passes for 2,186 yards - the third-highest single-season total in school history at the time - and 14 touchdowns. He ranked second in the league in passing average, third in total offense and fifth in passing efficiency. Haddix was also a second team All-GFC selection in 2004 while picking up the league's freshman of the year award in 2003.
Taggart helped coach an offensive unit that set school records for points (432), total yards (5,479) and first downs (263) en route to the 2002 NCAA Division I-AA national championship. The Hilltoppers ranked second in the nation in pass efficiency and sixth in rushing, and averaged 38.8 points per contest in four playoff victories.
In Taggart's first year calling plays in 2000, WKU ran for 293.4 yards per contest, leading the Gateway Football Conference and ranking second in the country in the category. The Toppers averaged 33.0 points per game and led the Ohio Valley Conference in rushing for the second straight year as WKU claimed the league title and advanced to the quarterfinals of the I-AA playoffs. In his first season in 1999, WKU ranked eighth in the nation and first in the conference in rushing.
Taggart's efforts helped WKU quarterbacks earn honorable mention all-conference accolades in three consecutive seasons - Jason Johnson (2000), Donte Pimpleton (2001) and Jason Michael (2002).
Taggart also spent his collegiate playing days at Western Kentucky, where he became the top rushing quarterback in Division I-AA history with 3,997 yards by the end of his career, which was also a WKU standard for all runners. In addition, he broke the school record for points at Western Kentucky with 280.
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.
He was only the third WKU athlete in the past half-century to hold down the quarterback slot for the Hilltoppers four straight years. Taggart - who set 11 WKU school records for rushing and scoring - had his jersey retired on October 23, 1999.
Taggart graduated from Western Kentucky with a bachelor's degree in social sciences in 1998.
As a prep standout at Manatee 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.
Willie and his wife Taneshia reside in Menlo Park with their two children Willie Jr. and Jackson.
The Taggart File
Full Name: Willie Taggart
Hometown: Palmetto, Florida
High School: Manatee
College: Western Kentucky, 1998 (B.A., Social Science)
Children: Willie, Jr., Jackson
QB, Western Kentucky (1994-98)
California (Riverside County), Florida, Georgia, Kentucky