Anyone listening to Florida State’s practice Monday couldn’t mistake who was in charge.
But while Jimbo Fisher’s animated and authoritative presence isn’t anything new to Florida State fans, he’s never wavered during what’s been, at times, a tumultuous 2016 season.
Amid rumors he would not be back for his eighth season in Tallahassee, and the team’s rocky start, Fisher kept FSU on a course that landed them in their fifth consecutive New Year’s Six and/or BCS National Championship game.
FSU (9-3), ranked No. 11 in the College Football Playoff poll, takes on No. 6 Michigan (10-2) Friday night in the Capital One Orange Bowl.
“Only two teams in the country have done that right now to have five in a row New Year’s Six matchups, whether it’s national championships or playoff games or New Year’s Six games, we’re one of those two teams,” Fisher said. “I’m very proud to do that. It shows the consistency in our program and that’s why I’m looking for even better things in the future.”
FSU recently decided it wanted Fisher as part of that future.
A week ago it was announced that Fisher received a contract extension through the 2024 season with an option for additional years that would pay him $5.5 million next season and eventually put him among the four highest-paid coaches in the country.
Before this news, Fisher had often been rumored to be a strong candidate to become the head coach at LSU where he served as offensive coordinator from 2000-2006.
With the new deal, FSU appears to have locked in one of college football’s most successful coaches for the foreseeable future.
“We’re doing some great things,” Fisher said. “We’ve got a tremendous young team with only nine seniors on the whole team. I like where we’re going for the future and what we have here.”
The five consecutive New Year’s Six/BCS Bowl appearances ranks second only to Alabama. FSU’s 35 consecutive bowl appearances tied Nebraska for the longest streak in NCAA history.
Fisher’s 77 wins since 2010 when he succeeded FSU legend Bobby Bowden as coach ranks second only to Nick Saban’s 85 wins at Alabama.
That’s 22 more wins than the University of Florida has had during that span and 26 more than the University of Miami – FSU’s biggest rivals.
During that span, the Seminoles are 17-1 against in-state foes with the lone loss coming against the Gators in 2012.
Fisher has led FSU to 58 wins since 2012 including a national championship in 2013. His 77-17 record gives him a .819 career winning percentage which ranks third among active coaches behind only Urban Meyer (165-28, .855) and Washington’s Chris Petersen (119-25, .826).
Fisher’s 11 wins per season average is the highest among active coaches.
The strong offensive approach he brought to FSU has helped the Seminoles remain one of college football’s most potent scoring teams.
During Fisher’s first 94 games, FSU has averaged 36.4 points per game, which ranks the sixth-highest average among active coaches’ teams since 2010.
FSU averaged 51.6 points during the 2013 national championship season when they set the nation’s scoring record with 723.
Fisher has had an impact both producing NFL talent and in recruiting South Florida.
The Seminoles have had 38 players drafted including eight first-round picks during Fisher’s tenure and, not counting walk-ons, signed 21 players from Miami-Dade, and Broward Counties.
Fisher emphasized Monday the importance a strong performance against Michigan this week would have (even though the game is not part of the college football playoffs) on the recruiting front.
“We have to keep recruiting well,” Fisher said. “Stability from recruiting and all that stuff just makes it so easy. We’ve got to go out and play well and do what we have to do, but very happy with that and very happy to be here.”