Nobody wants to be the man that replaces "the man." Unfortunately some coaches have to bear that task. Jimbo Fisher, however, seems to be up to the task. But some of Bowdens greatness can still be felt down in Tallahassee, plus one effect not many people have thought about. All that and more in this Bleacher Report article.
It only took Bowden 2 years to get a pedestrian FSU its first top-15 finish. He had his teams in the top 5 for a consecutive 14 years. That's more than most coaches have at one school.
He has two National Championship teams and the first to go wire-to-wire as the number 1 team in the nation. He groomed two Heisman winners, and numerous All-Americans, including recently inducted Hall of Famer Deion Sanders. Bowden has more wins at all football levels than any other head coach.
From September 1992 to September 2001, he did not loose a football game at home, the second longest streak by a team, longest by a coach.
Some may have thought that this was a poor move by Florida State, and I agree. Putting a time frame on Bowdens departure did somewhat hamper his own recruiting and it showed with several subpar seasons. Also keeping Mickey Andrews as his defensive coordinator prevented him from Keeping Up with the Joneses and the new spread offensive minds.
But one thing it did do was get the wheels going for Fisher to start implementing his offense and a head start on recruits he wants. Most new Head Coaches only get one year to get THE class that will give them another contract year. And since recruiting is no exact science, that first class may not be what all the experts say, and that head coach will be looking for a new job in four years.Fisher got three years essentially (two as a coach in waiting, one as the head coach) to get the players he wanted and weed out those who are inadequate.
So there are some positives to this Coach-In-Waiting and may be a thing of future for all sports
With Bowden retiring early this gave a slight edge to Fisher and his recruiting process. After the 2009 season, Bowden's last, season Jimbo Fisher stepped up to take the reigns of a team that had one coach for 34 seasons. Fisher, to my surprise, had a great season. He went 10-4 including, an ACC Championship Berth, a bowl win over South Carolina, and won the Florida State Championship by beating both Florida and Miami. That alone would give Fisher enough of a selling point to grab a class like this.
But it is my opinion that it was Bobby Bowden leaving prior to the 2010 season that gave Fisher this amazing class. With Bowden leaving early, Fisher was the only main Florida coach to remain and not scare away recruits.
When Urban Meyer's version of the second-coming graduated he suffered his worst season as a head coach and decided it was time to "recover". I will never say that a man is weak for spending time with his family. Don Corleone once said "A man, isn't a man, without his family" and I agree. But something was off a year ago when Meyer retired for five whole days and was back. Health reasons or not, something was just off about his leaving the University of Florida. Plus Charlie Weis is the new offensive coordinator for the Gators and that will limit their talented spread offensive players.
Randy Shannon was fired after a horrendous 4 year stint at Miami. If you have not seen the 30 For 30 "The U", I highly recommend it. I mention that because it shows the passion and the hostility that Miami players used to play with. Some call it swagger, most call it winning. Shannon won a National Championship on one of those teams and another as a graduate assistant. But it was that swagger or tenacity that lacked on his teams. He never won more than 9 games, never won a bowl, and never won an ACC Championship game.
Bowden leaving a year before Meyer and Harris possibly helped Fisher and his staff to pry away some kids going to either one of those schools
This amazing number 1 class Florida State got, was mostly due to Jimbo Fisher. This article was not to take anything away from him, but just to illustrate that timing is as important to luck, which is as important to talent. So get ready to Fear the Spear for a while.