Jimbo Fisher wants to hire brother for Florida State's staff
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher would like to hire his brother, Bryan, as an FSU coach but might not be able to because of the school's nepotism policy.
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- Jimbo Fisher's best coaching attribute is the potential he sees in others, Fisher's favorite coach says.
"He sees it in coaches and players," said Bryan Fisher, Jimbo's brother. "That's what sets him apart."
Fisher sees it in Bryan, whom he would like to hire as a Florida State coach in some capacity. Bryan, an offensive coordinator at Division II school Fairmont State from 2009-12, will watch the Seminoles' national title game against Auburn -- his brother's brightest moment as a coach -- from the Rose Bowl stands instead of the sideline, as part of the staff.
A brotherly coaching connection isn't happening, at least not right now.
Fisher told CBSSports.com he's aware of university nepotism policies designed to block potential conflicts of interest and has considered discussing possibilities with FSU about his brother joining FSU football.
"I would love to have him down here if they can get around this nepotism law somehow, someway. I'm thinking about it seriously," Fisher said. "I'd like to have him in the organization because he knows it so well."
FSU is familiar with relatives football together. Jeff Bowden, Bobby Bowden's son, stepped down as Seminoles offensive coordinator in 2006 after the offense struggled and echoes of favoritism were too loud to ignore. Bowden didn't report directly to his dad due to school policy. He discussed employee matters with someone else in the department.
The university's employment and recruitment policy states "related persons" can work together "provided that such employment will not involve a conflict of interest, including but not limited to participation by the related person in making recommendations or decisions specifically affecting the appointment, retention, tenure, work assignment, evaluations, promotion, demotion, or salary of the related person."
Requests for such employment must be submitted to the chief human resource officer for review. The president or vice president/provost also must sign off.
FSU wouldn't replicate the Bowden situation because Fisher doesn't need a playcaller. He calls his own plays. Plus he has a full stable of assistants.
But it's worth noting major programs have begun creating positions such as analyst and player personnel director. Perhaps that's a possibility for Bryan, who is sort of a de facto coach for Jimbo anyway.
Fisher sends Bryan film cutups during the season and the two talk football 2-3 times per week because Jimbo respects Bryan's perspective on the game. The Fishers were graduate assistants together at Auburn.
"I'm very close with my brother," Fisher said.
Bryan, who is a teacher in Fisher's hometown of Clarksburg, W.Va., after former Fairmont head coach Mike Lopez was not retained, was not readily available for questions about possibly joining FSU's staff but said in a December interview the two "bounce ideas off each other" about the game.
"He values my opinion and understands my philosophies," Bryan said.
CBSSports.com approached Fisher about his brother after a recent interview with Fisher's mother, Gloria, who said this week Bryan would be on the FSU staff if the school could hire relatives.
"It's not that [Bryan] necessarily wants his brother to have to hire him, but it'd make a good pair," Gloria said. "If they disagreed, [Bryan] wouldn't be afraid to say so. They have a good rapport."
Family working together in college football is nothing new. Mike Stoops is the defensive coordinator for his brother, Oklahoma's Bob Stoops. Arizona State coach Todd Graham's son, Bo Graham, is the Sun Devils' running backs coach.
Mike Stoops said he believes he had to clear a few HR-related hurdles because of the brotherhood but that it wasn't a problem and he reports to Bob on all football matters.
Fisher is racking up career milestones, leading FSU to its first national title game since 2001 and signing a five-year contract extension worth a reported $4.2 million per year with incentives. He was linked to the Texas job but stayed committed to FSU.
The family is obviously proud of Jimbo, who recently talked to Bryan about how to "keep good edges on it and be sound up front" against Auburn's vaunted rushing defense.
"We always were football junkies," said Fisher about growing up with his brother. "We always wanted to know why it worked, not that someone made a great play, but we always appreciated the whys of the game. And our dads made us do that. If it was on TV, we watched it."
Fisher's father Jim, who died in 1994, would tell Jimbo to "go out and win it" this week, Gloria said.
Jim would get two-to-three hours of sleep a night while working the coal mines and the family farm but never missed a game for Jimbo, who was a local quarterback, second baseman and point guard at Liberty High School.
Jim would bring the kids down to the coal mines and tell them to excel in school so they wouldn't have to work here.
No one had to worry about Jimbo. He was always "three steps ahead" of competition in any sport, Bryan said.
Though Bryan isn't coaching in the game, he's sharing in Jimbo's dream.
"We all had dreams. They were always attainable," Bryan said. "People who don't live here have a hard time grasping that."
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