Jimbo Fisher had one of the longest job titles in college football—Florida State offensive coordinator/head-coach-in-waiting.
But strip away the "in waiting" and Fisher had never been a head coach, at least not until he officially took over from coaching legend Bobby Bowden in January 2010. Fisher was a salesman from the start, envisioning what the program could be as he assembled a coaching staff and recruited student-athletes.
Florida State was far from the Florida State of the 1990s dynasty days in January 2010. The program was middle-of-the-pack in the ACC after a 7-6 finish in 2009.
Four years later, it's been quite a turnaround: Fisher is 45-10. He's won a national title and a pair of ACC titles, to boot. Plus a 4-0 mark against Miami and a 3-1 record vs. Florida.
The impact of what he was able to accomplish was not lost on Fisher when he spoke at a February ceremony honoring the national champions.
"We didn't just develop a team, folks," Fisher said. "We developed a program. We plan on being here for a long time."
What Fisher achieved is also the best four-year start to a coaching career in the ACC.
|ACC coaching wins in first four seasons|
|Jimbo Fisher (FSU)||2010-13||45-10||.818|
|Bobby Bowden (FSU)||1992-95||43-5-1||.888|
|Frank Beamer (Va. Tech)||2004-07||42-11||.792|
|Atlantic Coast Conference|
Yes, Bowden had a higher winning percentage than Fisher. But Bowden had an established program that was on the rise and was able to dominate an ACC that, in 1992, was not nearly as deep as it is now, 20 years later. The FSU teams of the 1990s were impressive on offense and defense, but the league also lacked quality competition.
That makes Fisher's 45 wins in 55 games stand out more than Bowden's 43 wins in 49. Fisher had to rebuild the program, and he had to do it on the fly in his first stint as a head coach.
Bowden had been a head coach at Howard, West Virginia and for 16 seasons at FSU before the Seminoles joined the ACC before the 1992 season. Fisher had been an assistant coach for two decades but had never called all the shots in leading a program.
Fisher could tell he was on to something special going into the 2013 season. He delivered this confident quote in August at media day.
"I love where this program is," Fisher said. "I love where it’s going. I love what we’re about to accomplish. It’s not going to stop this year. This is going on for a long time."
It's interesting to reflect upon those words now. Fisher had a feeling how good not just the team would be in 2013, but how good the program would be once again.
Bob Ferrante is the Florida State Lead Writer for Bleacher Report, all quotes obtained first-hand unless otherwise noted. Follow Bob on Twitter.
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