An Open Letter to Jimbo Fisher

UPDATE: Last night (Wednesday evening) during the Jimbo Fisher Call-in Show broadcast live on ABC-27 TV a local, in-person fan asked a question about loyalty. It was not pretty. The mic was wrestled away and the fan shoved twice and forced to leave the room. There all kinds of things wrong with this scenario. First, the "FSU guy" who did the shoving committed battery, twice; second, Coach Fisher can handle the question or comment. He's a big boy - something along the lines of, "I appreciate your passion and love of FSU, but I just will not comment tonight." Oh, and why should the guy be made to leave the establishment? Of course, it should be noted this event buttresses the overall point made below. This has all the signs of an ugly divorce as it would appear the relationship is getting toxic. 

You can watch the event as it unfolded here and form your own opinion. 

Coach Fisher,

You didn’t ask, but I never wait for an invitation to dispense some perspective on just about anything so…here goes.

This has been a tough stretch of time for you – personally and professionally. I think I speak for just about everyone when I state I hope and pray nothing but the best for you and your kids. Being a public figure is not easy, even less so for the kids.

If you choose to head to Texas A&M because you think it best for your children – God’s speed. Nothing is more important. Nothing. Stop reading. Go in peace.

But, if the considerations are outside of immediate family issues…well, read on.  

Published reports (I know, I know the media) indicate a frosty relationship between you and the FSU Athletic Director, Stan Wilcox, and you and the President of Seminole Boosters, Andy Miller.

You preach respect the process and chain of command to your players. You need to step back and evaluate whether or not you are living up the standard you expect of your team. Everyone, repeat everyone, has a boss and/or supervisor. If there is a disconnect there you play a role in making it right. Whether you stay or leave…you need to do your part in mending relationships. Someone once told me, “How you leave is how you enter.”

As for the Boosters, you really need to take a step back and look at the raw numbers. When I saw them, I was shocked by the story they told.

Since the 1990s $400,000,000 spent on football alone. Since 2012 the number is reported to be $150,000,000. Coach, nearly half a BILLION dollars in the last two and half decades and more than a third of it since you have been head coach.

Perspective, sir. No one, not one other coach in any other program would be as dismissive of those improvements as you have been. Your public statements this season are crystal clear.

I also think a sense of allegiance and team is needed as well.

Do some schools have more “bells and whistles?” Apparently so, but it has not hindered your recruiting. I think this is where you are selling yourself short. Look at how many players have gone on to the NFL on your watch. Don’t you think that badge of honor carries some panache? Of course, it does…players want to play for coaches who can help them achieve their dream of playing at the next level. I will go so far as to state it may be even MORE important than whatever new facility it is you are rumored to want.

I think you can look around at ALL the sports facilities at Florida State University and be proud. All programs have benefited from the success of football AND the Seminole Boosters. You speak constantly about the importance of the young men you coach understanding the concept of team. Well Jimbo, being a teammate is recognizing there are other programs which deserve the attention (ie: money) of the Boosters, too.

Then there is the allegiance part of the equation. Florida State University offered you the chance to build upon “The Dynasty.” The offer was a gift and a curse. I did not envy you having to follow Bobby Bowden, even if the program had fallen on diminished times at the end. But, follow you did and the gift was a program which had great name recognition, proud tradition, and the ability to help you attract great talent. You earned a national title coaching that talent. Tell me, when did the Aggies last win one? 1939 is the answer and I think the landscape in college football was a little different back then.

There is a simple reality about Texas A&M when it comes to college football…it is no Florida State. Personally, I do not think it ever can or will be. Heck, unless you know something others don’t and Nick Saban is going to quit or retire, I think you would be competing for third place in the SEC West. Not only are you recruiting against Alabama, Auburn, LSU, and the rest of the conference both West and East; you are recruiting against Texas. That is a little bit like being at Ohio and recruiting against Ohio State.

Will you have better recruiting success than the previous Aggie coach? Probably, but your path to repeated opportunities at the College Football Playoff is less treacherous at Florida State and you know it.  Besides, you don’t want to catch lightning in a bottle, you want a power plant to produce as much electricity as is needed to illuminate the path to multiple titles. The lightning in the bottle might, repeat might, be Texas A&M, the power plant is FSU.

Years ago, Coach Bowden came to a crossroad when he was offered the Alabama job – not once, but twice. I don’t have to tell you the attraction…he’s an Alabama man and this was his shot at his dream job. He stayed at Florida State. He was rewarded with two National Championships and a dynasty in college football which may never be equaled.

Was there more money to be had at ‘Bama? I am sure there was, but he stayed. More importantly, that was that. His “Yes” to Florida State was “No” to every other school in subsequent years.

Which leads me to my final point…you owe, yes owe, it to your players, coaches, and Florida State fans near and far to deal with the issue now not when you think it appropriate.

Repeatedly, you have stated you don’t talk about jobs…well Coach, to state the obvious, someone connected to you certainly does. Jimmy Sexton, your agent, perhaps? Is he talking jobs? I know every coach does it this way, but it does not make it the right way.

You have an obligation to do better, to handle this situation with certainty and clarity.

Do you think your players have not been impacted by all of the conjecture? It’s upsetting recruits – the young men who have committed based on you being the head coach at Florida State. Have you seen the stories (note…plural)? Do you really think dealing with this is more distracting than what you have put everyone through already? You are kidding yourself if you do.

I think you are a heck of a coach, although I think your allegiance to some of your assistant coaches is greater than it is to program, the fans, and Boosters who have paid your salary (and theirs) and the school which gave you your shot. I would be thrilled if you stayed and, hopefully, made some staffing adjustments. But, I will not shed a tear or worry should you leave.

Coach, the elephant (or should I say, “Aggie?”) is in the room. It’s time to deal with it.

Preston Scott

Preston Scott

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