Willie Taggart will receive buyout from Florida State despite contract issue
Willie Taggart was fired by Florida State earlier this month in the middle of only his second season with the team. When a big program parts ways with a coach that quickly, that typically means a large buyout is forthcoming. After some questions arose regarding his contract situation, it appears that will still be the case for Taggart.
A report from Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times on Monday said Taggart never finalized a formal contract with Florida State when he was first hired less than two years ago. The report said he signed what is called a binding document, which is only meant to be a placeholder until the formal paperwork is signed by all parties.
Taggart is owed nearly $18 million from Florida State, so it would be concerning if there was a question over whether or not his contract was actually signed. However, Darren Rovell of Action Network clarified that Taggart signed the deal and the school did not, so he will still be getting his money.
Source says Willie Taggart actually signed his contract, Florida State didn’t. It’s over. He’s getting his money.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) November 25, 2019
A similar situation arose back in 2009 when Kentucky fired former basketball coach Billy Gillispie after two seasons. Kentucky argued that they did not have to pay Gillispie his buyout because he never signed a formal contract, and the coach sued the school. Kentucky filed a countersuit, and eventually Gillispie received a $3 million settlement, which was about half of the buyout he was supposed to get.
If Florida State tried to pull something similar with Taggart, he could likely argue that he executed his end of the deal by signing the contract even if the school didn’t. The Seminoles would probably love to save the $18 million with some of the big names they have been pursuing to fill their head coaching vacancy, but Taggart appears to be safe.