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November 26, 2012

Jimbo Fisher “very happy” at Florida State; former Auburn QBs coach speculates Chizik’s firing had “other circumstances” off the field

AUBURN, Ala. — Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher is a dreamy name to consider as Auburn’s next head football coach.

Fisher’s message Monday: Keep dreaming.

Fisher, 47, was asked in his press conference about speculation he might be interested in returning to the SEC as a head coach. He served as Auburn’s quarterbacks coach from 1993-98.

“Let me ask you this: how many guys get a job that’s out there on the rumor mill? It’s always the guys never mentioned who are taking jobs,” Fisher said.

“I’m very happy right here. It’s where I want to be. We’re building something special, we’ve got great players, we’ve got great players to come to be here. It’s a great place to live, my family is set up in this community, and I plan on being here a long time.”

When a reporter reminded Fisher that Alabama head coach Nick Saban expressed similar sentiments before leaving LSU and the Miami Dolphins, a chuckle went up around the room. Fisher had an answer for that, though.

“It goes back to your integrity, huh?” Fisher said. “Hey, one thing in this building, they might walk here and say, I don’t want you to be the coach no more. To say you’re never going to move in this business as a coach, you can’t say that. It’s inevitable.

“But I’m very happy. I’m very content. I want to be here.”

Fisher doesn’t know if his agent, Jimmy Sexton, has been in contact with the four SEC programs with openings — Auburn, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky — and said he doesn’t discuss other openings with him.

Fisher was then asked specifically whether he was surprised Auburn dismissed Gene Chizik less than two years following a national championship — the quickest firing ever of a title-winning coach.

“Depending on circumstances,” Fisher said. “I don’t think that had much to do as with wins and losses as it had to do with other circumstances in the program.”

Fisher said he’s having success turning around Florida State’s previously low graduation success rates, which the NCAA releases on an annual basis.

“We have very few off-field issues. Our guys are outstanding young men. They represent themselves very well,” Fisher said. “Wins and losses are very important, but how you conduct your program, the things you’re doing academically, professionally to help these young men develop as people, we’re doing a great job.

“I think some of those issues have occurred at different places. Like the one you’re talking about,” Fisher said, addressing the reporter who brought up Auburn, “they’ve had a lot of issues there, and I don’t know why, but that’s a big part of it too.”

Fisher, whose Seminoles are 10-2 and ranked No. 13 in the latest BCS standings, was an Auburn assistant the entire tenure of former Tigers head man Terry Bowden.

When Bowden was ousted, Fisher moved on to join the staffs and Cincinnati, LSU and eventually Florida State in 2007 as offensive coordinator.

In December 2007, Fisher was labeled head-coach-in-waiting by then-Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden — Terry’s father — and took over the program in 2010.

Florida State has a 29-10 record in these three years, including victories in the Chick-Fil-A and Champs Sports Bowls. The Seminoles play Georgia Tech (6-6) Saturday night in the ACC Championship in Charlotte, with the winner likely headed to the Orange Bowl.

Sexton, who has managed many SEC past and present coaches including Nick Saban, Steve Spurrier, Tommy Tuberville, Philip Fulmer and Houston Nutt among others, is notable for utilizing his clients’ success to leverage those schools into restructuring contracts by tossing their names around in the midst of other coaching searches.

Fisher’s salary is $2.75 million, tops in the ACC and No. 16 nationally but below five SEC salaries in the 2012 season, including Chizik’s $3.5 million.

9 Comments

  1. Did anyone expect him to come out and say FSU is in financial trouble and I would like to leave? Of course he will say he is happy.

    Comment by CHB — November 26, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

  2. Fisher isn’t my first choice, but that is some premium grade coachspeak. If he wasn’t interested in the job, he’s say so. “I’m happy to be here…” is typical non-committal, vague language you hear every season from coaches that are at least interested in listening to offers from certain schools.

    Comment by Bryan — November 26, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

  3. Hmmm, what he didn’t say is pretty revealing. He didn’t say: 1)he wasn’t interested, 2) he had not heard from Auburn and 3) he wouldn’t leave FSU for the right offer.

    Comment by Daniel — November 26, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

  4. Wow….coachspeak at its best…how hard is it to say “I am not and will not be a candidate for the Auburn coaching position?”

    Comment by rt77 — November 26, 2012 @ 2:12 pm

  5. Certainly this is coach speak, but I wouldn’t read too much into it. I’m sure his agent has taught him a thing or two about leverage. More than a few coaches have suddenly been deemed more important to a program when the admin types think they might lose him.

    Comment by ivanhelsing — November 26, 2012 @ 3:23 pm

  6. Jimbo just got a raise at FSU …….. just for having his name even mentioned for the Auburn job.

    Comment by Russ — November 26, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

  7. What did Satan (Saban)say when he was at the Dolphins? That he was not interested in any other job?

    Comment by Casey — November 26, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

  8. Also, the fact that he’s a Sexton client is a ding against him around the AU athletic department. You mention how he handled Nutt, but Sexton played those same games – constant rumors for other jobs, etc – for Tubs to milk Auburn for more money. I’m sure for the right candidate, the Sexton angle wouldn’t matter though, and Jimbo could always kick him to the curb like Chizik, if necessary.

    That aside, I think Jimbo’s inside angle during the Bowden tenure probably left him with a poor taste for some of the players around AU.

    Comment by Jay G. — November 26, 2012 @ 7:50 pm

  9. Not verbatim, but sounds familiar to JJ’s stated qualifications for the next AU coach…

    -“We have very few off-field issues. Our guys are outstanding young men. They represent themselves very well,” Fisher said. “Wins and losses are very important, but how you conduct your program, the things you’re doing academically, professionally to help these young men develop as people, we’re doing a great job.

    Comment by Track 'em Tigers — November 26, 2012 @ 8:27 pm

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