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.