Willie Taggart on Bryant Coach of Year Watch List

By on October 20, 2016
(Travis Failey / RSEN)

(Travis Failey / RSEN)

TAMPA, FLA —The USF Football Head Coach Willie Taggart has been named to the watch list for the 31st Annual American Heart Association Paul “Bear” Bryant Award, presented annually to the nation’s top collegiate football head coach.

Taggart has USF off to a program-best 6-1 start with the nation’s No. 8-ranked scoring offense. The USF head coach was among 23 coaches nationally and three American Athletic Conference coaches named to the watch list for the award presented by Marathon Oil Corporation.

The Coach of the Year Award is the only college-coaching honor presented after all bowl games are concluded. It is voted on by the National Sports Media Association and has honored many of the game’s greatest leaders, including Clemson’s Dabo Swinney in 2016. Five to 10 finalists will be announced this December who will then attend the awards banquet in January. Fans can follow these coaches and the #bryantawards play-by-play at facebook.com/bryantawards.

Taggart orchestrated one of the top two-year turnarounds in the nation last year as USF won eight games and made its first bowl game since 2011. The Bulls have built on that in 2016 as USF is bowl eligible for the second straight year and takes a program-record string of seven straight conference victories into Friday night’s clash at Temple. The Bulls stood 27th in the latest USA Today Amway Coaches Poll, just two spots outside of their first Top 25 ranking since 2011, and have won 13 of their last 16 games.

The architect of the Gulf Coast Offense, Taggart’s offensive scheme has USF on pace to produce one of the top-five seasons in Florida collegiate football history and shatter records the Bulls set in 2015. USF is riding nation’s-leading streaks of 12 straight 200 yard rushing games and 11 straight games of 35 or more points and 440 or more offensive yards. The Bulls 44.1 ppg and 268.4 yards per game rushing both rank No. 8 nationally, while USF’s per game total offense of 506.4 ypg stands 15th.

USF will look to extend its best-ever conference start on Friday when the Bulls travel to Philadelphia, Pa. for a nationally televised, Friday night clash vs. Temple. The game is set for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff on ESPN.

 The 23 coaches on this year’s Paul “Bear” Bryant Award watch list are (in alphabetical order):

 _Bret Bielema – Arkansas

_Paul Chryst – Wisconsin

_Larry Fedora – North Carolina

_P.J. Fleck – Western Michigan

_Jim Grobe – Baylor University

 _Jim Harbaugh – Michigan

 _Bryan Harsin – Boise State

_Tom Herman – Houston

 _Dana Holgorsen – West Virginia

 _Butch Jones – Tennessee

 _Nick MacIntyre – Colorado

 _Gus Malzahn – Auburn

 _Jim McElwain – Florida

 _Urban Meyer – Ohio State

 _Ken Niumatalolo – Navy

 _Chris Petersen – Washington

 _Bobby Petrino – Louisville

 _Mike Riley – Nebraska

 _Nick Saban – Alabama

 _Kevin Sumlin – Texas A&M

 _Dabo Swinney – Clemson

 _Willie Taggart – South Florida

 _Kyle Whittingham – Utah

Follow  @USFFootball on twitter for all the latest information concerning the USF Football program.

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