• Free Willie: 4-year-old FSU fan opens lemonade stand to help buy out Willie Taggart's contract

    By: Bob D'Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:
    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

    College football boosters have raised millions of dollars to buy out the contracts of unpopular or unsuccessful football coaches.

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    A 4-year-old Florida State University fan took a more modest -- and novel -- approach, setting up a lemonade stand to raise money toward buying out the $27 million contract of second-year coach Willie Taggart, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

    Grayton Grant set up a "Free Willie" lemonade stand outside his grandmother's Tallahassee home Sunday and raised $241 in less than three hours, the newspaper reported.

    The Seminoles (1-2) lost 31-24 to North Carolina State on Saturday night. FSU opened its season with a 36-31 loss to Boise State and needed overtime to squeak past Louisiana-Monroe last week. With No. 1 Clemson looming in two weeks, the Seminoles and Taggart -- who is in the second year of a six-year, $30 million contract -- are facing a daunting task.

    Throw in the fact that Taggart is coming off a 5-7 record in his debut season at FSU -- the Seminoles' first losing season since 1976 -- the boosters are becoming restless.

    Sunday morning, Grayton charged $20 per cup, the Democrat reported. One customer donated $100, according to the newspaper.

    Grayton's father, Daniel Grant -- an FSU alumnus and a Platinum Chief booster who donated $35,000 annually to the football program -- matched his son's total and sent a $482 check to Seminole Boosters, Inc., the Democrat reported.

    The check was accompanied by a tongue-in-cheek typed letter signed by Grayton and addressed to the booster club.

    The letter said, "I am tired of losing football games and being made fun of at school for being a Seminole fan. At 4, I am already starting to gravitate towards the color orange. You don't want that for an innocent kid like me…."

    Grayton signed the letter with an orange marker. Orange is one of the primary colors of the Seminoles' chief rival, the University of Florida Gators.

    If Taggart is fired, the university would owe him 80 percent of his remaining salary balance, the Democrat reported.

    "I was sitting there last night watching the game -- and  I was complaining, complaining and complaining," Daniel Grant told the Democrat."I talked to Grayton about it. This was all in fun, for sure, but a person can't complain and not try to pitch in and help fix it.

    "We had fun doing it." 

    Grayton's mother, Jamie Grant, was amused by the passion displayed by her son and husband.

    "Oh, the joys of having two FSU-crazy boys in the house," Jamie Grant told the Democrat. "A simple lesson of not being a complainer sure escalated quickly." 

     

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