Live in Vision
Texas A&M made it official Monday, hiring Jimbo Fisher away from Florida State to become the Aggies’ new head coach. It’s quite a coup for Aggie Athletic Director Scott Woodward, who courted Fisher over the last few weeks when it became apparent that Kevin Sumlin was on his last legs at A&M.
“Why in the world would Jimbo Fisher leave Florida State for Texas A&M?,” I’ve heard asked more than a few times this week. I get it, it’s a fair question. On the surface, A&M looks like a step down from Florida State. Winning is the name of the game at FSU, and the Seminoles have done it better than really anyone on a consistent basis since 1976.
Two men – Bobby Bowden and Jimbo Fisher – are the reason FSU has turned into one of the top programs in the nation. It wasn’t Tallahassee, I’ll tell you that. Florida State wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire before Bowden showed up from West Virginia, and he set a standard that Fisher continued, and actually had a better winning percentage at .738 with a national title in 2013.
Florida State is one of the best jobs in the country, but programs are made by the leaders who build and maintain them, not by any entitlement that seems to be assumed should come with certain schools.
Take Alabama for example – they’ve been almost unbeatable under Nick Saban. Guess what? They weren’t so good before he got there. Does David Shula ring a bell? How about OU – anyone remember the John Blake days before Bob Stoops showed up? They were awful. Anyone remember how mediocre-to-bad TCU was for a number of years in the eighties and nineties? Gary Patterson has built one of the best programs in the nation.
The truth is there are about 15-20 jobs in the country that have all of the necessary components to build a winner – alumni and revenue base, facilities, recruiting access, power-five conference, money, and tradition (however you wish to define that). Texas A&M has all of that in spades, and has been searching for the right coach since R.C. Slocum was let go in 2002.
How dare us Aggies strive to be the best. Why do you think we made that move to the SEC six years ago? It wasn’t about the Longhorns (for the 79th time). It was about taking the potential of the Aggie athletic program as high as it could go. It was called “the 100-year decision” and we’re just entering year seven of it.
No, we haven’t won a conference title since 1998. So what? Is it wrong to want to win our first SEC title, and sooner than later? Those that simply look at historical win-loss records are looking in the wrong place to judge a program’s potential. Jimbo saw it and jumped at the opportunity to write his own legacy and achieve greatness in a place that is hungry. Real coaches relish these challenges; Jimbo said so on Monday at his press conference. Yes, $75 million over 10 years helps, but one must pay for greatness. Think Saban is worth every penny? You bet.
Jimbo is a master recruiter and is already at work. I don’t think the man sleeps. He’s already hit Houston and other Texas high schools, and was in Georgia Wednesday night whispering in the ear of the No. 1 quarterback prospect in the nation who is currently committed to Georgia (the kid took the time to listen to Jimbo; you never know).
Many of you still aren’t convinced. I could scream from the mountaintops and it won’t make a difference. And that’s ok. Jimbo said it best on Monday, “We either live in vision or we live in circumstance. We’re going to live in vision. Our actions will define us.”
Those that don’t have the vision that Texas A&M showed with the move to the SEC and continue that with this hire of Jimbo Fisher are welcome to continue doubting us. But we’re blazing our own trail. And we refuse to apologize to anyone for it.