Just minutes after an impressive victory over the Florida Gators, Jimbo Fisher faced questions regarding the LSU coaching situation.
However, this time was a bit different. He was asked what made him decide to pass on LSU, a school that it was widely reported had Fisher atop its replacement list for former head coach Les Miles. Fisher’s answer was a very promising one for FSU:
I love Florida State. I always want to be at Florida State. I told them a long time ago I want to be at Florida State. I love what we're building, and I think we can have a great legacy here and keep the culture that Coach Bowden and everyone else put in place. We've got great young players and I love the hell out of them.
Now, that statement isn’t to say that Fisher didn’t give the Tigers some thought. It was reported that he was asking Louisiana State’s administration for $6.5 million per year to be LSU’s coach for 10 years. For some perspective on how ridiculous this contract request was, Nick Saban is currently has an eight-year deal at Alabama while Jim Harbaugh, the highest paid college coach right now, inked a seven-year deal at Michigan before the 2015 season.
Fisher did pass on countless opportunities to deny his interest in the position at LSU, instead refusing to even acknowledge or discuss it publicly. Behind closed doors though, Fisher was quite upfront with his team.
“I'm straight honest with them,” Fisher said. “There's a trust factor, and I trust them, and hopefully they trust me.”
The team did maintain its trust in Fisher, with senior fullback Freddie Stevenson going so far as to say, “We know where [Fisher’s] head is at. We aren’t worried about that.”
In the end, the team’s trust was affirmed by Fisher’s passing on the position, which was filled by the Tigers’ former interim head coach, Ed Orgeron, on Saturday.
With Fisher now having passed LSU in each of the past two seasons, this time with a final reported offer of $6.8 million, the question now becomes what other jobs could tempt him away from FSU. The answer may only be known by Fisher himself, but the list can’t be a very long one.
Fisher, who has coached in the South his entire career, would likely only consider jobs in that section of the country. Of the jobs even close to FSU’s level in the region, LSU and Texas were both just filled, Georgia was filled after last offseason, and Alabama, the only job in the South which is undoubtedly better than Florida State, will be held by Nick Saban for as long as he wants to be there, quite possibly until his retirement.
The only real alternative this leaves is if Fisher hears the call of the NFL and makes that leap. If that doesn’t occur, there seem to be no jobs opening in the near future which could be deemed worthy of drawing the FSU head coach away. Only time will tell with Fisher. but his recent decision could very well mean that he is in it for the long haul at Florida State.