The skills of deception by former head coach Willie Taggart continue to be confirmed and it is so disappointing to people of even minimum morals. On both of the major Oregon subscription websites it has been reported that Taggart is actively negative recruiting, and talking trash about the University of Oregon and our beloved Ducks.
It is not a surprise that he has gone after Oregon recruits who have verbally committed to the Ducks, and actually signed one, Isiah Bolden, a four-star corner out of Florida. It will probably not be the only player he will flip and the damage to this recruiting class with all the de-commitments was immense. Yet despite the betrayal of leaving after only one year–Oregon’s ranking it still at No. 13 for the nation with the “not-to-be-outworked” Mario Cristobal gearing up for a big recruiting finish.
A year ago at this time Taggart was extolling the virtues of Eugene and Oregon, and now he is whispering that perhaps this location is not a good match-up for this year’s athletes? The rumors contain stories of a non-diverse, small city with bad weather–which wasn’t a problem a year ago! He is throwing mud on the only Power-5 school to give him a chance?
I still recall the press conference where he met with the local media at 2:45 PM in the afternoon on a Friday and he denied any contact with him or his agent by Florida State. I watched it by live streaming, and heard the question about the contact from my good friend Jerry Thompson of Mighty Oregon magazine. Yet a week later Athletic Director Rob Mullens confirmed that the day before that news conference–FSU called him to state they were contacting WT, and later that day Taggart called Mullens that they had.
My friends … this guy is good at lying.
Current Oregon recruits and their parents were being told the day before by WT “that he is not going anywhere” and AD Mullens spoke of how bold commitments were promised by Taggart, and how Oregon held up every aspect of their end of the deal. Consider how this fellow fooled everyone, and can even claim he fooled Phil Knight, and Tony Dungy who referred him to Mullens!
I was very, very worried about the coaching staff, as they too bought his lies and moved to Oregon to build something special–only to be dumped. The fact that the majority of the staff are staying is a testament to how being at Oregon is special, and how they now saw the true side of Taggart as everyone else did. That is a blindside that hurts…
This was not a good Xs and Os coach, and he was terrible at in-game adjustments as well as a number of other decisions like running a 6’6″ slender NFL caliber quarterback between the tackles. (It was reported here by yours truly as stupid-as-hell.) Selling everyone is what he is good at, and he is one of the best. He has sold himself into a six million dollar a year contract, and frankly, the bodies left in the wake don’t matter to this guy.
Picture for a second the impact on these young men; you and I have been lied to all our lives and some of them have been enormously hurtful to us. Over the years we Greybeards develop a thick skin, and eventually come to the conclusion of blaming ourselves for being such an easy dupe if we get fooled again.
These young men of Oregon have no such life experience.
They were delivered a great story with energy and excitement from someone who has proven to be world-class in his deception. They bought his story because they believed in him and wanted to, and then they truly were stunned and hit up-side the head by the blatant betrayal. My friends–it is hard for even us Greybeards to handle being fooled like that.
Is it any surprise the team played like crap barely a week later in the bowl? Their heads were truly messed up, and I completely understand now. I would have taken it worse than they did at that age! The coaching staff and Cristobal has a massive job ahead regaining trust–and it was not them who created the wound.
It would appear that former coaches at Oregon (Florida State and UCLA) are labeled as being in the top five as “losers” in the early signing on a national basis. That really isn’t the consolation I wanted. In the end this has turned out for the best as people like Taggart cannot hide their true nature forever, but it has to be a mental-mess for those young men caught in the middle.
Take Note of Changes, but FishDuck is Still Here….
My friends, there will only be about two or three articles published per week is all, beginning this week, but I will still be writing. So if you see nothing for a few days–keep checking in as articles will come up and I can’t stay away from a keyboard for long.
Keeping articles published every day takes all my spare time, and I am ready for a normal life again. No vacations since the site began (six and a half years ago) and working seven days a week between two jobs (this and being in investments) is something I cannot sustain.
So, as the writers and editors have moved on from the site (usually after about six months of writing or editing) –no replacements were recruited and trained, and we are now seeing much less content as a result, beginning this next week.
It is a lifestyle decision that had to be made, and I cannot convey how having an all-volunteer site of this magnitude for so long is much harder than it looks. A couple of hundred former writers and editors can attest to that, as learning how to write for this venue, learning Associated Press style, and the massive amount of technology is formidable. (I had to create over 40 instructional documents and videos for writers and editors!)
But I will be here writing each week, so keep checking in as I have some tasty articles planned in the near future, and we will ponder the path of Oregon’s glorious future … together.
I love our Beloved Ducks and fellow Oregon fans,
Charles Fischer (FishDuck)
Top Photo: From Video