Willie Taggart completes Oregon coaching staff

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Thursday February 16, 2017


Willie Taggart has completed his full-time coaching staff at Oregon for a second time.

Shortly after the staff was completed, David Reaves was dismissed after an arrest, and Jimmie Dougherty left for UCLA. As a result, Taggart hired Marcus Arroyo and Michael Johnson. Once again, Taggart has his nine full-time assistants and head strength coach.

The potential addition of a 10th assistant coach in a few months could change things, but for now, here is the 2017 Oregon staff:

Despite moving across the country, Taggart is keeping a number of those ties to Florida.

Running backs coach Donte Pimpleton, special teams coordinator Raymond Woodie and head strength coach Irele Oderinde followed from USF. They have deep ties in the state. Woodie is a former conference recruiter of the year. Taggart also brought several staffers with him from USF. Oderinde was suspended for a month after three players were hospitalized during winter workouts. Previous head strength coach Jim Radcliffe was retained by Taggart in a lesser role and took over again on an interim basis.

Then there’s the addition of co-offensive coordinator / offensive line coach Mario Cristobal from Alabama. Cristobal is one of the top recruiters in the country in Florida and is a former FIU head coach.

It’s expected that Taggart will continue to call offensive plays, as he did a year ago. Based on the setup, it’s possible Taggart could coach quarterbacks, or Reaves could, which he did at USF. It could also be a spot for the potential 10th assistant.

To run the defense, Taggart hired Jim Leavitt, who turned around the Colorado defense in two years. It’s a partnership between two former USF head coaches. He brings a little Pac-12 experience and previously worked under Harbaugh with the 49ers.

Leavitt also brought Charles Clark with him from Colorado to coach cornerbacks. Clark spent four years coaching defensive backs at Colorado and previously worked at SJSU. Safeties coach Keith Heyward comes from Louisville, but has deep West Coast ties through work at USC, Washington, Oregon State and Cal Poly.

Defensive line coach Joe Salave’a spent five years at Washington State, improving WSU’s pass rush and run defense. He and previously worked at Arizona and San Jose State and received a new contract at Washington State last year.

To replace Reaves, Taggart hired Marcus Arroyo, who comes from Oklahoma State and was previously the interim offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He does have West Coast ties from previous stops. Multiple reports indicate Michael Johnson will coach receivers. Johnson coached in the NFL from 2000-10 and was UCLA's offensive coordinator in 2011. He comes to Oregon from the high school ranks. He was set to join the Michigan staff, but instead of Jim Harbaugh, he'll work for someone from the Harbaugh tree in Taggart.

Taggart’s first three games as Oregon head coach will be against Southern Utah, Nebraska and at Wyoming.

A 10th assistant could change things, but keep track of new FBS staffs here.

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.