Jimbo Fisher's name got tossed around coaching circles seemingly every November for the last four years, and now he's moving on from Tallahassee. Fisher will leave the Florida State program prior to Saturday's regular season finale with ULM to take the same position at Texas A&M after eight seasons as the head coach of the Seminoles.
"Today, Jimbo Fisher informed me he has accepted an offer to become the next head football coach at Texas A&M University," Florida State president John Thrasher said in a statement. "Coach Fisher did an exceptional job as both an assistant coach at FSU and in the challenging role of successor to the legendary Bobby Bowden. I believe Texas A&M is getting one of the best coaches in college football. We appreciate all he has done for our program and wish him and his family great success moving forward."
The new deal for Fisher is the most lucrative in college football history at a reported 10 years and $75 million, fully guaranteed.
Texas A&M officials have approved a 10-year, $75 million contract for Jimbo Fisher, which is the richest deal in college football history in terms of total value, sources told ESPN. He'll be the second highest paid coach in the FBS with an average... https://t.co/FT30WXd0w4— Mark Schlabach (@Mark_Schlabach) December 1, 2017
Assistant coach Odell Haggins will serve as FSU's interim coach for the final game of the season, the school confirmed.
"We are extremely pleased by the quality of individuals who have already expressed interest in being the head coach at Florida State University," athletic director Stan Wilcox said. "I am confident we will fill the position very soon. I would tell our supporters and fans the same thing that I told our team: we will hire a head coach that will lead Florida State to ACC and National Championships; one who will maintain our commitment to academic excellence; and one who will make you proud to be a Seminole."
Fisher took over for legend Bobby Bowden prior to the 2010 season after spending three seasons with the program as offensive coordinator/coach-in-waiting. He won three straight ACC championships from 2012-14 and topped Auburn in the BCS National Championship Game following the 2013 season.
He had an 83-23 record as the head coach at Florida State, and that .783 winning percentage is the highest mark in program history ahead of Bobby Bowden (.756), who coached from 1976-2009.
However, things had started to become stale in Tallahassee in recent years. Fisher orchestrated his best coaching job ever in 2015 when he led the Seminoles to a 10-3 season and a Peach Bowl appearance despite a revolving door of underwhelming quarterback play, poor offensive line protection and few receiving options. In 2016, Florida State again reached 10 wins, but only after starting 3-2 with a blowout loss to Louisville.
He leaves a program that is 5-6 in 2017 after entering the season ranked No. 3 in the AP Top 25. Fisher lost quarterback Deondre Francois to a season-ending injury late in the loss to Alabama to open the season, has struggled to find offensive consistency with backup James Blackman behind a woefully underperforming offensive line.
This marks the first time since the 1959-60 season that both Florida and Florida State will enter a season with a new coach after the Gators fired Jim McElwain earlier in the 2017 season.
So in some ways, Fisher coached his butt off over the past three seasons. In other ways, things got too complacent at the assistant level. Blue-chip players weren't developing like they needed to and wholesale changes would have been needed anyway had Fisher stayed at Florida State.
Still, A&M gets a significant upgrade at head coach with a proven winner. The Aggies have invested heavily in new facilities and renovating Kyle Field in recent years, but haven't finished better than .500 in SEC play since their first year in the conference -- which was also Kevin Sumlin's first season -- in 2012. Sumlin was fired this past week after posting a 7-5 record. Sumlin 51-26 in six seasons with A&M.