Report: Ex Florida State Football Coach Willie Taggert Never Signed a Final Contract
In early November, Florida State University (FSU) fired its head football coach Willie Taggert in the middle of his second year leading the team—an early termination of his deal. At the time, the team was in the middle of a mediocre season and was looking for a new direction.
Now, there is some controversy over what will happen to the remainder of Mr. Taggert’s contract. According to reporting from the Tampa Bay Times, the Florida State football coach never signed the final version of his employment agreement.
Unsigned Contracts Can Still Be Enforceable—But It is More Complicated
Willie Taggery served as the Florida State University football coach for nearly two years. Despite being the head coach of one of the premier athletic programs in the entire country, Mr. Taggert was apparently working under an unsigned, incomplete contract. On the day he was hired by the program, he signed a nine page letter that was designed to serve as a placeholder until a final agreement could be drafted and agreed upon.
The issue is now taking center stage as Mr. Taggert has been terminated by the university well before the expected duration of his contract. As he was terminated early, Florida State may owe him as much as $17 million to buyout the remaining years on the deal. However, questions are being raised about FSU’s obligations given the unsigned nature of the deal.
As noted by the Tampa Bay Times in its reporting, this is not the first time this situation has arisen with the head coach of a major college sports program. In 2009, Billie Gillespie, the head basketball coach for the University of Kentucky, went through very similar circumstances. In the end, Mr. Gillespie and the University of Kentucky reached an agreement, settling the dispute for approximately half of the value of the original buyout.
Always Pay Attention to the Details: Formalize Important Agreements
With contracts, the details matter. Whether you are an employer or an employee, it is always best to formalize agreements. While informal oral contracts can still be legally enforceable, it is always better to have a written, final version of the agreement that is signed by both parties. To start, this is important because it helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page, thereby reducing the risk of a dispute. Further, should a dispute arise, you will better be able to enforce your rights if you have a formal contract. If you are currently working towards an agreement, professional help is available. Our South Florida employment law attorneys can help you protect your rights and interests.
Call Our Florida Employment Contract Attorneys Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our West Palm Beach employment law lawyers have considerable handling employment contracts. We are prepared to protect your rights. To set up a fully confidential review of your case, please do not hesitate to contact us today. With offices in Miami and West Palm Beach, we represent employers and employees throughout the area.