The hushed whispers that began a few weeks ago about Jimbo Fisher’s potential departure from Florida State to Texas A&M have escalated to more than murmurings.
When Kevin Sumlin was officially fired by the Aggies Sunday, news of a contract offer to the Seminoles head man kicked into high-gear, with outlets speculating on if Fisher indeed will make the jump to the Lone Star State and the SEC West.
In the last five seasons, rumors about Fisher leaving have persisted. In 2013, in the leadup to the national championship game, he was named as a potential successor to Mack Brown at Texas. In 2015 and 2016, he was LSU’s number one choice to replace Les Miles, with the second pursuit of Fisher coming significantly closer than the first.
With Fisher now being cited as a name for a different job three years in a row along with a refusal to deny his interest in them, however, Florida State can’t be caught off guard if its nine-year head man bolts for College Station. It needs to be prepared.
The athletic department and administration’s faith in him, which may have been bolstered by Fisher leaving LSU at the altar twice, shouldn’t overshadow the very real possibility that he may leave following Florida State’s regular season finale.
With a potential bowl game to play, an early signing period and a head start by the main in-state competition, Florida State would need to make a decision on its next head man as quickly as possible in order to set itself up to be successful under a new coach.
The addition of a new, early national signing day taking place on Dec. 20 means making a fast, and good, hire that much more important. Should Jimbo Fisher choose to leave for Texas A&M after the Louisiana-Monroe game, a replacement needs to be hired within a window of 5-6 days to be able to start hosting recruits.
If the administration’s caught by surprise and a contingency plan isn’t in place, the decision could foolishly be made in haste, and the consequences could be the short and long-term success of Florida State football.
Not only can’t FSU be caught off-guard, it shouldn’t. Fisher, despite a $45 million guaranteed contract, has repeatedly flirted with departure from the school, refusing to quiet down rumors year-after-year in order to provide a bit of wiggle room.
If it hasn’t already started back channel discussions with potential replacements, then Florida State is playing itself. Loyalty and trust in your nine-year coach is to be expected, but reality has to overpower fondness and force your hand at a certain point. The vetting of potential replacements should be happening right now, in case Fisher does leave.
With people in College Station speculating that Fisher to Texas A&M is a done deal and no outright denial from the head coach himself, that point’s been reached.