Florida State University was fortunate enough to have Bobby Bowden as their coach for 34 years. They’re now more than pleased to have Jimbo Fisher to continue following in his footsteps.
Just a week before FSU plays in the Vizio BCS Title Game for the national championship, they locked up their head coach for the next five seasons.
Fisher will sign a five-year deal worth $21 million, making him one of the highest paid coaches in college football. He has led FSU to a 13-0 record in the hunt for their first national title since 1999.
Bowden took over at FSU in 1976 and led the program until he retired immediately following the Gator in early January, 2010. Fisher had been the offensive coordinator under Bowden, and he has now won two consecutive ACC championships along with the chance to claim the top spot in college football this year.
FSU athletic director Stan Wilcox is more than pleased with the direction of the FSU program under Fisher.
"We are extremely pleased with the direction of our program and believe that this new contract will assure that Coach Fisher is in place to lead the Seminoles for a long time to come," Wilcox said. "Coach Fisher enjoys the full support of the leadership of the university and we look forward to the continued success of our football program on the field and in the classroom."
Fisher has enjoyed immense success, posting a 45-10 record in four seasons, including three straight bowl wins.
This year, Fisher put together one of the most explosive offenses in the country, led by freshman quarterback Jameis Winston. Winston passed for 3,820 yards, 38 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions, becoming only the second freshman in history to win the Heisman Trophy.
There had been speculation that Fisher was on a short of list of candidates to take over at the University of Texas, who is looking to replace Mack Brown. Brown coached his last game on Monday at the Gator Bowl after 16 seasons.
Presumably, Fisher’s new contract now takes him out of the running in Texas, and he’s thrilled that the talks are now out of the way, telling the Associated Press that he can now concentrate on a national title.
'We're blessed that we got that out of the way so we can focus on winning a national championship,'' Fisher said.
Wilcox told the AP that it’s natural for a major program like Texas to covet someone like Fisher.
''I think that there's a sense of relief that's it's done but anytime you're one of the top coaches in the country and there's a top program that's open, you're going to be on the list because that institution, Texas, can go and get basically anybody they want,'' Florida State athletic director Stan Wilcox said. ''But I know Jimbo, he's a Seminole. He wants to be with Florida State and we want him to be with Florida State.''
This is simply the right move for the Seminoles. After 34 years with Bowden at the helm, they’re now guaranteed to have someone continue guiding the program after Bowden for at least several more years. Few schools have had the type of stability at the top enjoyed by FSU.
Bowden himself loves what Fisher is accomplishing for FSU.
''He hasn't failed to do anything I didn't think he could do,'' Bowden told The Associated Press in a phone interview. ''Everywhere he's been, he's done an excellent job.
''You never know what kind of head coach a guy's going to be when he comes from an assistant. ... He's passed the test in any arena he's been in.''
So, FSU will look to win their first national title in 15 years against Auburn early next week. And with Fisher at the helm, FSU is secure in knowing that the program will continue to be stable and strong for the foreseeable future.