The Fisher File
Birthdate: October 9, 1965
College: Salem (W.Va.) ’89
Family: wife, Candi Fisher; sons Trey (10) and Ethan (6).
Jimbo Fisher carried the momentum of his first season into and through his second year at the helm of theFloridaStatefootball program in 2011.
After 22 seasons as a college assistant, including three as FSU’s offensive coordinator, Fisher succeeded Bobby Bowden – the second winningest coach in major college football. The Seminoles’ first new coach in 35 years, and just the ninth in program history, hit the ground running in 2010 and has not looked back.
Fisher guided the Seminoles to a 9-4 record, capped by their 18-14 victory over Notre Dame in front of a Champs Sports Bowl record crowd. FloridaStateclosed the year ranked No. 23 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls after cashing in on their nation-leading 30th consecutive bowl appearance. It was a fitting finish to a season that saw the Seminole successfully defend their state title, sweeping bothMiami andFlorida for a second consecutive – something that had not been since the 1998 and 1999 seasons.
The Seminoles displayed tremendous resolve throughout the 2011 campaign, winning seven of their final eight games after getting off to an injury-riddled, 2-3 start. With a 19-8 record, Fisher is off to the best two-year start in Seminole history.
FloridaState’s success was not unexpected. Fisher set the standard for expectations in his first season, delivering the Seminoles back to a place of national prominence with a 10-4 record in 2010. FSU capped the season with a 26-17 win over No. 19 South Carolina in the Chick-fil-A Bowl and finished at No. 16 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. In addition to his season sweep of in-state rivalsMiamiandFlorida, the Seminoles won the ACC Atlantic Division title en route to their first 10-win season since 2003.
Fisher won the most games (10) by a first-year coach inFloridaStatehistory and is tied for the second-most by a rookie coach in ACC history. He was named the 2010 Football Writers Association of America’s Freshman All-America Team Coach.
Three of his players in 2010 earned All-America honors: offensive guard Rodney Hudson (consensus All-America selection), defensive end Brandon Jenkins and cornerback Xavier Rhodes.Rhodeswas named the ACC Rookie of the Year and National Defensive Freshman of the Year. Fisher capped off the 2010 season with three seniors selected in the 2011 NFL Draft led by quarterback Christian Ponder – the No. 12 overall pick in the draft by the Minnesota Vikings. Ponder became the highest offensive player to go for the `Noles since offensive lineman Alex Barron in 2005. Before Ponder, Gary Huff was the highest drafted FSU QB as the 33rd overall pick in the second round of the 1973 draft.
Fisher carried the success of his first season onto the recruiting trail as he put together a 2011 recruiting class ranked either first or second nationally by ESPN.com, Scout.com and Rivals.com. While maintaining the core values that Bowden instilled over the course of his 34 seasons inTallahassee, Fisher has a simple explanation for the sweeping changes he has brought to the program: You don’t run a business the same way today as you did 5-10 years ago.
He has carefully crafted his vision by borrowing from two men – Nick Saban and Bowden – he worked under. Their influence, though very different, can be seen sprinkled throughout Fisher’s own blueprint for success.
Yet the greatest influences in Fisher’s life have been his parents, John James and Gloria Fisher. His late father, a coal miner and farmer who demanded accountability from sons Jimbo and Bryan, helped them understand the value of hard work from an early age. Those lessons extended beyond the family farm and home and onto the fields and courts as a promising young football, basketball and baseball player.
By the time Fisher reached junior high school and became the starting quarterback, he was calling plays in the huddle. Win or lose, the car rides home with his father always included a critique of what transpired on the field.
Fisher learned about tough-love from his father, but his future was also shaped by his mother, Gloria, who is in her 51st year teaching high school chemistry. It was Gloria who made sure that her son escaped from a life in the coal mines and followed his dream after an All-State career atLibertyHigh School.
He has done both and with a high degree of success. Fisher starred for three seasons at quarterback forSalemCollegeinWest Virginia, establishing school and conference records on his way to earning All-American honors. He transferred toSamfordCollegeinBirmingham,Alabamafor his final season of eligibility, where his record-setting 1987 campaign earned him NCAA Division III National Player of the Year honors.
Fisher began his coaching career at Samford and joined the staff atAuburnin 1993. Over the next 14 seasons, including stops atCincinnatiand LSU, he built a reputation as a keen play-caller whose development of quarterbacks was second-to-none in major college football. His list of standout pupils included record-setters Stan White, Patrick Nix and Dameyune Craig, who is the lone 3,000-yard passer inAuburnhistory. After guiding Cincinnati to one of its most prolific seasons in a one-year stint, he joined Saban’s staff at LSU, where over a seven-year run, quarterbacks Josh Booty, Rohan Davey, Craig Nall, Matt Mauck, JaMarcus Russell and Matt Flynn were selected in the NFL Draft.
• Became just the third coach in school history to record multiple shutouts in the first two years of his tenure atFloridaState. The Seminoles earned shutouts againstWakeForest(Sept. 25, 2010),ULM(Sept. 3, 2011) and NC State (Oct. 29, 2011) in the first 22 games of his career. Only Bill Peterson (1960 and 1961, four shutouts) and Don Veller (1948 and 1949, five shutouts) join Fisher as coaches with multiple shutouts in the first two years of theirFloridaStatecareers.
• With FSU’s 34-0 victory overULMin 2011 season opener, Fisher became the second winningest head coach after 15 games in FSU history with an 11-4 record.
• The Seminoles sweptMiamiandFloridain back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1998 and 1999.
• Named the 2010 Football Writer’s Association ofAmerica’s Freshman All-America Team Coach.
• Won the most games (10) by a first-year coach inFloridaStatehistory and tied for second most by a rookie coach in ACC history.
• Put together back-to-back top five recruiting classes with the 2011 ranking either first or second nationally by ESPN.com, Scout.com and Rivals.com and the 2012 class ranking No. 2 by ESPN.com
• Led FSU to its 30th consecutive bowl appearance – the longest active streak in the nation and second all-time toNebraska’s 35 and extended the Seminoles streak of winning four consecutive bowl games which also is the longest active streak in the nation.
• Led FSU to first ACC Atlantic Division title since 2005 and first season sweep ofMiamiandFloridasince 1999 in 2010. In posting the first season sweep of in-state rivalsFloridaandMiami, he joined formerFloridacoaches Ray Graves (1960) and Galen Hall (1985) as the only men in the state to pull off the feat as a first-year coach. The 52-point combined margin of victory over the rival Hurricanes and Gators was the widest margin in a season sweep by the Seminoles.
• Guided FSU to its best home record (6-1) in 2010 since posting 6-0 marks at Doak Campbell Stadium in 1999 and 2000.
• By winning six of his first seven games in his first year, joined former FSU coaches Don Veller (`48) and Larry Jones (`71) to notch that feat as a first-year coach with the `Noles.
• Responsible for developing FSU QB Christian Ponder who, as a second-year starter, led the ACC in total offense and passing yards per game in 2009. Ponder capped off his senior season in 2010 by becoming the 12th overall pick of the Minnesota Vikings in the 2011 NFL Draft.
• As FSU’s offensive coordinator from 2007-09, the Seminoles improved each season to rank among the ACC leaders in total offense.
• Offensive coordinator for the 2003 National Champion LSU Tigers.
• Coached three players selected in the first round of the 2007 NFL draft including No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell.