TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Jimbo Fisher sits on the horns of a dilemma. It’s early April, and after spring practice, he will hit the road to recruit. During that recruiting period, the Florida State offensive coordinator and head-coach-in-waiting occasionally will join his boss, Bobby Bowden, as Bowden greets the faithful.
“You know what’s bad?” Fisher asks, a smile curling his lips. “Coach Bowden is one of the best speakers in history. You’d think at least if the guy was a great coach, he’d be a bad speaker. But he’s the greatest speaker in the world. He’s the greatest coach in the world. I have nowhere to turn.”
A month later, Fisher reports in from the road. At tour stops in Panama City and Tampa, his “A” material drew chuckles from the garnet-and-gold masses. Not as many laughs as Bowden, mind you. “I get a few,” Fisher says, “but I don’t speak as long.”
Actually, those who love the Seminoles are keenly interested in what Fisher has to say. FSU president — and former FSU football player — T.K. Wetherell cooked up this succession plan to quiet some of the grumbling that the legendary Bowden had lost his edge. Even after back-to-back 7-6 seasons, no amount of grumbling could force out the winningest coach in Division I-A history, especially when his president is a former player. Besides, Bowden has more than earned the right to go out on his own terms. After all, he did lead the Seminoles to a top-five finish every year from 1987-2000. Wait a second. Let that stat sink in. FSU finished in the top five for 14 consecutive seasons.