Four things you should know about Florida State interim coach Odell Haggins
Longtime assistant is the first black head coach in Seminoles history
When Odell Haggins woke up on Friday morning, the Florida State assistant head coach was looking forward to fine-tuning the game plan for his defensive line headed into Saturday’s regular-season finale game against Louisiana-Monroe.
By late afternoon, Haggins was being named the team’s interim head coach.
It was a whirlwind day on the Florida State campus after Jimbo Fisher left the 5-6 Seminoles for riches offered by Texas A&M, a 10-year, $75 million deal.
That leaves Haggins to coach the Seminoles in the regular-season finale (a makeup from the Sept. 9 game that was postponed because of Hurricane Irma) and a possible bowl game that will likely happen if Florida State becomes bowl eligible with a win.
Who is Odell Haggins?
Here are four things you should know about the Seminoles interim head coach.
He’s the first black head coach in Florida State history
Not that it’s a long list of coaches.
Florida State has only had two coaches in the last 42 years. Fisher took over the job in 2010 and held it for eight years. Before that Bobby Bowden was an institution on the Tallahassee, Florida, campus, holding it down for the Seminoles for 34 years.
Haggins becomes just the 10th head coach in the history of Florida State, which introduced football in 1947.
How big is the day for his former players? Travis Johnson, who played five years in the NFL after being drafted by the Houston Texans in 2005, went to Twitter on Friday looking to hitch a ride to Tallahassee because he was unable to find a flight that would arrive in time for Saturday’s noon start.
Johnson has gone on social media in recent weeks to advocate for Haggins to get the top job.
“This is the best coach in all of football and he ain’t [paid] like it!” Johnson tweeted Friday, just before the announcement of Fisher’s departure. “God forbid Jimbo leaves this the only man I want to be our next head coach.”
Haggins has an intense love for Tallahassee
Haggins has spent 30 of the last 33 years of his life there, arriving in Tallahassee in 1984 out of Bartow (Florida) High School. By the time he finished his career at Florida State in 1989, he was a first-team All-American.
Haggins was drafted in the ninth round of the 1990 draft by the San Francisco 49ers, where he began his NFL career, followed by two seasons with the Buffalo Bills.
At the end of his brief NFL career, Haggins returned to Florida State in 1994, and was hired by Bowden to coach the offensive line and tight ends. He switched to the defensive side in 1996.
Haggins is known as one of the nation’s best defensive coaches/recruiters
ESPN named him the ACC’s top recruiter in 2012, the year before the Jameis Winston-led team went undefeated on the way to winning the national championship over Auburn. And in 2016 he was named one of the top 25 recruiters by Rivals.com for the fourth straight year.
Seventeen of the defensive linemen Haggins has coached have been drafted into the NFL, including first-rounders Brodrick Bunkley (2006), Johnson (2005), Corey Simon (2000) and Andre Wadsworth (1998).
Wadsworth was the No. 3 overall pick, at the time the highest-drafted player in Florida State history. He held that honor until Winston was picked with the top overall pick in 2015.
He’d prefer you forget his rap career
Just before the 1988 season, someone had a brilliant idea: Make a team rap video. And thus “Seminole Rap” was born, inspired by the 1985 “Super Bowl Shuffle” performed by the Chicago Bears.
“Super Bowl Shuffle” was bad.
“Seminole Rap” was worse.
Haggins sure didn’t help. Following Deion Sanders, Haggins’ verse — delivered in a slow, off-beat drawl, might have been the lowlight of the song:
Hey, QBs, watch out, my friends, I’m Odell Haggins, I’m back again.
You can double me up on every play, it won’t matter, can’t keep me away.
When the ball is snapped and I’m off the line,
Into the trenches is where I will grind,
Get out of my way, I’m taking no flak,
Just want to kick back doing the Seminole rap
Sanders had this response on Friday when someone tweeted Haggins ‘verse:
Man i was there when he recorded it and i peeed 9n myself then and now. Lolol https://t.co/5wdNNZK5W0
— Deion Sanders (@DeionSanders) December 1, 2017
When the rap was released (One of the opening lines: We know we’re good, some say we’re great/ Our goal is simple — best in the land) the Seminoles were ranked No. 1 in the preseason. It was the first No. 1 ranking in school history.
They faced in-state rival Miami in the season opener.
The ‘Noles lost, 31-0.