OREGON HIRES TAGGART AS NEXT FOOTBALL COACH
eugene, ore.» Oregon hired Willie Taggart, who spent the last four seasons as head coach at South Florida, to take over the Ducks following the dismissal of Mark Helfrich.
Oregon formally announced Taggart’s appointment Wednesday.
Taggart has led USF to an 18-7 record over the last two seasons, including a 10-2 mark this year. He also spent three seasons as coach of Western Kentucky, his alma mater, and was an assistant coach at Stanford under Jim Harbaugh.
Oregon fired Helfrich last week after the Ducks went 4-8.
“Oregon has a strong national presence and a proud recent history of playing among the nation’s elite, and I look forward to the challenge of upholding the excellence,” Taggart said in a statement.
Taggart, 40, is the first coach Oregon has hired from outside the program since 1976. The Ducks’ previous three coaches, Mike Bellotti, Chip Kelly and Helfrich, were all assistants who were promoted.
Taggart will be the first black head football coach at Oregon. The length and terms of his contract were not immediately released.
• South Florida co-offensive coordinator T.J. Weist will serve as interim coach the rest of the season, which concludes with a Dec. 29 matchup against South Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl, after Taggart’s departure to Oregon.
• Alabama redshirt sophomore quarterback David Cornwell announced in a Twitter post that he is transferring. Redshirt freshman Blake Barnett left the program early in the season after freshman Jalen Hurts won the starting job. Cooper Bateman is the backup.
Former Nicaraguan soccer head pleads guilty B new york» Julio Rocha, the former head of the Nicaraguan soccer federation from 19982012, pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy in federal court. The case is part of a sprawling prosecution that triggered turmoil at FIFA, the governing body of international soccer.
Authorities say Rocha negotiated and accepted bribes totaling more than $150,000 linked to the sale of marketing rights.
Rocha was a FIFA development officer at the time of his arrest in May 2015 and faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each count. He also has agreed to forfeit nearly $300,000.
• Referees will be allowed to get help from video replays at the Club World Cup in Japan in the first full live in-game trial of the technology that could transform soccer.
Referees could halt games to review footage of “game-changing decisions” on pitch-side monitors or just rely on information being fed by Video Assistant Referees (VARs) watching broadcast feeds, officials said.
Five coaches to get inducted. The Colorado High School Coaches Association announced five to its 54th Hall of Fame class, to be inducted March 25 at the Radisson Hotel Denver Southeast in Aurora.
T.R. Ellis, a volleyball coach who compiled a record of 467-288 at Olathe, Douglas County and Chaparral, won state championships at Chaparral in 2010 and 2011.
Greg Fruhwirth coached girls basketball at Fowler, finishing with a 407-84 record and winning state titles in 1989, 1993 and 1999.
Randy Hodgson coached volleyball and basketball at North Park.
Tony Manfredi was the football coach at Overland for 29 years, finishing 172-88 and winning the state title in 1993.
Alan Versaw won 10 consecutive girls cross country state titles at The Classical Academy from 2003-2012. The boys won five times in that span.
Footnotes. Ronell McNeal Jr., who went to Prairie View High School in Henderson and played football at CSU-Pueblo from 2011-15, died Monday at age 24. Service and memorial information were not yet available.