A Tipping Point? The X Factor in Willie Taggart’s Decision

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When Coach Taggart was first offered the job in Eugene — I wrote an article about Willie Taggart‘s family, and in particular, his wife Teneshia Taggart. However Charles (FishDuck) was reluctant bring WT’s family into the discussion as he wanted the transition for the Taggarts in Eugene to be as smooth as possible and without any outside media intrusion. So we declined to publish stories about them until now, as I’ve identified what could be the “X” factor in whether Coach Taggart stays at Oregon.

There are some aspects to all this that appear to be obvious and easy — unless you have to live through them. I know, as one who moved to South Carolina after growing up in Oregon, the issues that matter are often more than money or prestige when making a major career decision.

Her Twitter

Teneshia Taggart

Having made moves across the country with a family in tow myself, I understand that such moves impact everyone within the family. Willie and Teneshia’s two school-age sons (Willie Jr. and Jackson) have come to a new geography, climate and culture. Although they would be returning to Florida with an FSU move — it is starting over, again. They must enroll in new schools, and would, most likely, lose friends made in Eugene. Coach Taggart’s daughter (Morgan), while relying on her mom and dad, will face new dislocation and adjustments again in her life with yet another move.

Teneshia must be a wonderful woman, mother and wife. She has supported his dreams and career throughout their time together in Florida, Kentucky, California, back to Florida and now Oregon“Behind every successful man, there is a woman,” as the saying goes.

One writer for FishDuck.com explained to Charles how he had been displaced twice while growing up. He said he felt that moving had affected him “socially” and “held him back in some areas.” Isn’t it hard to start over and make new friends, leave old ones and do it multiple times when you are that young? When does Teneshia decide, “no more moving!”

Teneshia might bear the load for the family’s adjustments and stress through the years, and may continue until she is comfortable in a new location and has made some close friends. Women tend to adjust differently than men. Oftentimes, a new place is not home until a woman has found and made the critical first “close” friend or two that she can confide in and share her innermost feelings and life with. These are additional parts of the decision, to move or not, that matter to the family that fans may not think of.

Would these aspects suggest the Taggarts could be staying put?

Keepin’ Momma Happy

“If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” is a colloquial expression that many of us can relate to. It works because it’s true. Are Taneshia and Willie Taggart, along with their children, happy in Eugene? Oregon is not Florida and that is just fine with most Oregonians, who can often be different from people in Florida.

Tampa-St. Pete-Bradenton is an area known as a great region in which to raise a family, and Florida is certainly the “Sunshine State.” The area is surrounded with the warm blue waters of the bay and Gulf Coast shores with no winter weather there, nor dark perpetual cloudiness as in Eugene.


Willie, Taneshia and family at South Florida.

The typically mild temperatures of Lane County probably felt cold at first until the Taggarts could acclimate to the new “moist cold” of Oregon. (Some who have moved to Eugene from the South have said that “you never get used to the cold”) The food and culture of the Northwest are also quite different from the South as another challenge for his family to deal with. Have they adjusted?

We cannot know the happiness and satisfaction of Teneshia Taggart and her family in Eugene, Ore., thus far. Family adjustments could present risk and danger to Coach Taggart’s success and tenure as Oregon’s coach. Unsettled unhappiness might be an iceberg that we won’t see until it’s too late. In the end, the Taggarts are Floridians, and you can’t blame them for missing 70 degree days about now.

Might that be a crucial reason to decide to return to Florida?

There are some who feel that Willie Taggart isn’t ready for Florida State, and other Oregon fans feel that breaking his word with coaches he recruited to Oregon, current players and new recruits would be the worst demonstration of selfish ambition over promises made. Some within Charles’s circle feel that leaving for 5.5 million per year (or whatever the gargantuan amount will be) is losing all credibility and selling his soul to a Seminole devil.

He might never say it to the media, but a decision to stay or leave Oregon might be an elevation of the most important value to him, and that of honoring what is best for his family. I hope Oregon fans will remember that and respect his decision.

Brent Pennington
Greenville, South Carolina

Top Photo: GoDucks.com

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