When Jimbo Fisher took over as head coach in 2010, it was just the first step of a change in the culture at Florida State.
In the nine seasons preceding Fisher as head coach, FSU finished with double-digit wins just once. In the seven seasons since the coaching change, the ‘Noles have accomplished that double-digit wins feat in six of seven seasons.
At the beginning of those final nine seasons led by Bobby Bowden, FSU was ranked inside the top six of the preseason AP Poll three times, inside the top 14 six times and ranked inside the top 19 eight times. Florida State showed lots of promise but could never deliver.
Despite all those preseason expectations, FSU never finished the season inside the top 10 and only finished inside the top 20 twice. Three of those final four years from 2006 to 2009, the Seminoles weren’t even ranked at all following the season.
And then Jimbo Fisher became head coach and everything changed.
When Florida State started its streak (that is still active) of five consecutive BCS/NY6 bowl appearances in the 2012 Orange Bowl, it was FSU’s first BCS bowl appearance since the 2005 Orange Bowl.
When Fisher led FSU to its third National Championship in 2013, it was only FSU’s second BCS Bowl victory since its prior National Championship in 1999. The other victory was the previous season’s 2012 Orange Bowl, also coached by Fisher.
Those recent feats above Fisher accomplished don’t even include the three ACC Championships the team won from 2010-2014.
Defensive line coach Odell Haggins is entering his 23rd season at Florida State and has plenty of experience coaching for both Bobby Bowden and Jimbo Fisher. When asked about the biggest attribute to the change of culture at FSU, Haggins gave all the credit to Fisher.
“Coach Fisher has put his stamp on the program. He has done a great job for what he wants, and the kids are really buying into what Jimbo Fisher wants for this program, keep it rolling, have class, do things the right way.”
Legendary head coach Bobby Bowden had been advocating for changes before he was succeeded. Offensive line coach Rick Trickett, entering his 10th season with the program, said that FSU is succeeding because of those new changes as well as the way Fisher’s staff is adapting to the new ways of College Football.
“Obviously the things coach Bowden wanted and didn’t get, we have. I think the facilities and upgrades and things we’ve progressed a lot that way. Recruiting was changing at the end of coach Bowden’s time...I think the recruiting is a big change, that’s nothing on coach Bowden. This thing is 24/7 now and it wasn’t that way back in the day.”
Fisher, with the help of his coaches, attacked and adapted those changes to the sport in a way that has made recruiting an integral part of FSU’s success. Wherever College Football is, Fisher always seems to be one step ahead.
Those recent Florida State recruiting classes are yet another reflection of the clear change of culture at Florida State, and a change that many want to be a part of. Since 2012, Florida State has finished inside the top four of 247 Composite team recruiting class rankings four times and finished in the top six on five occasions.
Those classes consisted of many top players in the country. Since that 2012 recruiting class, the ‘Noles have hauled in 12 top 15 prospects including Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, current star defensive back Derwin James, fifth overall 2016 NFL Draft pick Jalen Ramsey, and arguably the greatest running back in school history in Dalvin Cook.
Fisher has clearly revamped the status of the program and there’s no sign of the ‘Noles slowing down.