Oregon has hired Willie Taggart, who spent the last four seasons as head coach at South Florida, to take over the Ducks following the dismissal of Mark Helfrich.
Oregon formally announced Taggart's appointment Wednesday.
Taggart has led USF to an 18-7 record over the last two seasons, including a 10-2 mark this year. He also spent three seasons as coach of Western Kentucky, his alma mater, and was an assistant coach at Stanford under Jim Harbaugh.
Oregon fired Helfrich last week after the Ducks went 4-8. A news conference to formally introduce Taggart was set for Thursday.
"Oregon has a strong national presence and a proud recent history of playing among the nation's elite, and I look forward to the challenge of upholding the excellence," Taggart said in a statement. "I can't wait to get started."
Taggart, 40, is the first coach Oregon has hired from outside the program since 1976. The Ducks' previous three coaches, Mike Bellotti, Chip Kelly and Helfrich, were all assistants who were promoted.
Taggart will be the first black head football coach at Oregon. The length and terms of his contract with the Ducks were not immediately released.
Taggart was 16-20 at Western Kentucky, taking over when it was first transitioning to FBS. He went 7-5 in his last two seasons with the Hilltoppers and then moved to USF, not far from where he grew up in Bradenton, Florida.
It took two seasons and a change in offensive philosophy from more pro-style, West Coast schemes to a spread, but he now has the 25th-ranked Bulls rolling. They finished second in the American Athletic Conference East Division to Temple and will play South Carolina on Dec. 29 in the Birmingham Bowl.
Wednesday was the second straight day the AAC has lost one of its best coaches, and the third the conference has lost since Thanksgiving weekend. Temple's Matt Rhule was hired by Baylor on Monday and Tom Herman left Houston for Texas on Nov. 26.
Taggart had support from former NFL player and broadcaster Tony Dungy, whose son Eric played at USF in 2014 after transferring from Oregon.
Taggart served as running backs coach for Harbaugh at Stanford from 2007-09 and is credited with helping to recruit Andrew Luck. Harbaugh had recruited Taggart, a quarterback, to play at Western Kentucky under father Jack Harbaugh from 1995-98.
After taking over when Kelly left in 2013, Helfrich went 37-16 in his four seasons as head coach of the Ducks. He signed a contract extension in early 2015, and had an $11.6 million buyout.
Just two seasons ago, Oregon went to the first College Football Playoff championship game, led by Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Marcus Mariota.
But the Ducks struggled this season with a five-game losing streak - the program's longest since 1996 - and finished at the bottom of the Pac-12 North with just two conference wins.
In a statement after his dismissal, Helfrich thanked his own family, the campus community, the fans, and his coaches and their families.
"Finally, to the players - thank you, and I love you," he said. "The future is bright for this young, talented team, and we will be supporting them and their new leadership."
Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens also reportedly interviewed Boise State's Bryan Harsin and Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano before settling on Taggart. Kelly, now with the San Francisco 49ers, had said he was not interested in the job, as did former offensive coordinator Scott Frost, now at Central Florida.
For the immediate future, Taggart will need to reach out to Oregon's recruits. Defensive back Deommodore Lenoir and defensive end Langi Tuifua both previously withdrew verbal commitments. Offensive lineman John Vaka said he was no longer committed via Twitter on Tuesday.
STANFORD, Calif. -- Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey will skip his senior season to enter the NFL draft.
McCaffrey announced his decision on Wednesday, saying he has done everything he could in college and now wants to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL.
"Since I was 6 years old, I've wanted to play in the NFL," he wrote in an announcement on Stanford's website announcing his decision. "It's been on every list of goals that I've ever written. Now, it's time to take that step. There's nothing more I can put on film."
McCaffrey was the runner-up last season for the Heisman Trophy when he broke Barry Sanders' NCAA record for all-purpose yards in a season with 3,864 yards. He has proven to be the ultimate all-around threat with the ability to run with power between the tackles, use his elusiveness and speed running on the outside or as a receiver and being a dangerous returner.
He rushed for 2,019 yards and eight scores, added 645 yards receiving with two more touchdowns and had 1,200 yards and two TDs as a returner in 2015 when he narrowly lost the Heisman to Alabama's Derrick Henry.
McCaffrey was not as prolific this season as he was slowed in October by an injury. He still rushed for 1,596 yards and increased his yards per carry from 6.0 to 6.3 despite a less accomplished line and passing game. He also scored 16 touchdowns overall this season for coach David Shaw and the 16th-ranked Cardinal (9-3).
"I've talked to many in and out of the game and received advice from people whose opinions I greatly respect, including Toby Gerhart, who was here for a game this season. I took their feedback and came to a conclusion: I'm ready," McCaffrey wrote.
"I talked to Coach Shaw about everything. He completely agreed. Really, it just made sense. The opportunity is right in front of me. Simply put, this is the best time to live out my dream."
McCaffrey says he plans to return to school to get his degree.