Western is hosting the KHSAA State Football Championships this weekend — of all times, during the first days of new Head Coach Willie Taggart’s time back at Western.
Taggart said hosting the six championship games is a great way to get recruits on campus and interested in Topper football again.
“That’s huge. That’s a lot of guys on this campus seeing what Western has to offer,” Taggart said. “I think we have some of the best facilities in the country — that’s including some BCS schools. It’s a good opportunity that these kids get to get on campus and see that. Now what we’ve got to do is put a good product on the field and let them know we’re doing that.
“If there’s a kid that’s on our radar that we’re looking to get in our program, then no doubt. This is the best time to do it — when they’re on our campus. I can take moments to sit down and talk to them.”
Taggart said he spent this past week recruiting in New York and Florida, but wouldn’t limit his search to certain states.
“I’m going to go wherever the best players are, and the best fit for what we’re looking to do here,” he said. “If that takes us going back to California, then we’re going to go back to California. But we’re going to get the best players that can play 1-A football and want to be here.”
On the type of recruits he’s looking for:
“I don’t want anybody to be average. I was fortunate to work at Stanford for the past three years were guys were phenomenal. They strive for excellence where you have 7,000 kids chasing greatness, and that’s what I want here.
“(Stanford isn’t) that much different (than Western). The only difference is that they don’t settle for anything. So we’re not going to settle for anything. We’re not just going to settle for being average — not on the football field and not in the classroom. I don’t want to deal with just average kids. I don’t want to deal with lazy kids. I want kids that want to be the best.”
On his relationship with former coach David Elson moving forward:
“Me and coach Elson are good friends, and I just wanted to let him know that isn’t going to change. I’m sure there are going to be times when I’m going to count on him for some things. I’ll probably need to call and talk to him, and I told him if there’s something I can do for him, he shouldn’t hesitate to contact me.”
Taggart said he hasn’t considered bringing Elson into his coach staff. He instead assumes Elson wants to look at other schools.
“I’m sure he’ll look for other opportunities,” he said. “He’s going to find a good job. He’s a good coach and somebody’s going to get a good coach.”
On where he’ll go from here:
“Guys are in the weight room and guys have finals coming up. That’s priority No. 1 for me, is make sure those guys finish strong. We want them to finish strong in the classroom.”
For more on Taggart’s first days at Western, including his first team meeting on Friday night, visit the Herald’s website.