July 9, 1999
As a player Odell Haggins was a legend at Florida State. One of
the top defensive linemen ever to play for the Seminoles, Haggins was an
All-America noseguard and played on some of the Tribe’s best teams ever.
For the past five years, he has coached at his alma mater and for the past
three years has led the interior defensive line. This season, he will
guide the nation’s best defensive tackles, Corey Simon and Jerry Johnson,
as they hope to make up the backbone of another punishing defensive unit.
Haggin’s return to FSU came in 1994 when Bobby Bowden was faced
with a rare vacancy on his coaching staff when Brad Scott was named head
coach at South Carolina and took fellow FSU assistants John Eason and Wally
Burnham with him. When the decision came as to who would be hired to
complete the “new” FSU coaching staff, Bowden turned to one of his own and
“Odell was one of the best players and finest leaders we’ve ever
had at Florida State,” said Bowden. “He was dependable and accountable and
he has the qualities you look for in a coach. His name just kept popping
into my head and once I made the decision I knew it was right.”
The decision has indeed been right for Florida State and Haggins
has proven it by producing outstanding interior defensive lines in each of
his first five seasons. Haggins’ troops have made the Seminoles one of the
toughest teams in all of college football to run against. Last year,
Haggins’ interior defense was the strength of the entire team and he
welcomes back All-American Corey Simon and Jerry Johnson who should be the
cornerstones of their side of the ball again this year.
“I’m really enjoying coaching the defensive line,” said Haggins.
“I feel like I’ve come home. I know what it takes to be successful at the
position and I know how important the defensive line is in the overall
scheme. I’ve learned techniques that will work at the NFL level and those
same principles should make you a better college player.”
A native of Bartow, Fla., Haggins was a four-year letterwinner and
popular team leader for the Seminoles from 1986-89. He earned Kodak,
Walter Camp and UPI All-America honors as a senior in 1989 and was a second
team Associated Press selection as a junior in 1988. The 1987 FSU team
finished the season ranked second in the nation and the Seminoles were
third in the country in his junior and senior seasons. Any Florida State
fan can remember his trademark of crossing his arms over his head after a
big play as a symbol of his role in FSU’s “Say No to Drugs” campaign.
Following his standout collegiate career, Haggins was drafted by
the San Francisco 49ers and played two years, earning a Super Bowl ring in
1990. He spent the 1991 season with the Buffalo Bills.
Haggins earned a degree in criminology from Florida State and was
working with the state attorney’s office in Jacksonville before joining the
FSU staff. He worked with the rehabilitation of juvenile offenders while
with the state attorney and continues to make working with young people a
Haggins is married to the former Robin Kimbrough.
Years as a Collegiate Coach: 5
Florida State — Tight Ends/Offensive Line (1994-95); Defensive Line
Alma Mater: Florida State ’93
6th Season at FSU