USA Today

Just How Good Has Jimbo Fisher Been At Florida State?

Florida State has experienced a high level of success since Jimbo Fisher took over. Just how good has it been?

Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher has won 35 of the last 36 games he has coached at Florida State and has the highest winning percentage in Florida State history. He led the Seminoles to the 2013 National Championship and was one of the four teams in the inaugural College Football Playoff in 2014. Florida State has won three straight ACC titles and are undefeated so far this year. That alone makes him one of the top college football coaches in the country, but just how good has he been?

To understand just how good Fisher's run has been, we have to understand where he started from. From 2006 to 2009 Florida State had a 30-20 record and a 16-16 record in ACC play. The Seminoles pulled in an average recruiting class rank of 18.25 during that time period despite being in the top recruit producing state in the country. 

Fisher also had to deal with the added pressure of replacing Florida State's legendary head coach Bobby Bowden. Bowden won 2 national championships and 377 games at Florida State in his 34 years. The latter years of his coaching tenure were extremely rocky and he was forced to step down. With the way Bowden was forced out and the product that the Seminoles were putting on the field, Fisher's tenure started at the program's lowest point in 30 years. 

Fisher responded by winning 10 games in his first season for the first time since the 2003 season. He was able to bring in the No. 8 recruiting class that year, which included future stars like Lamarcus Joyner, Christian Jones, Bjorn Werner, Cam Erving, Telvin Smith and Terrance Brooks. Those players laid the foundation for what Fisher was building at Florida State. 

The 2011 season wasn't what Florida State fans had hoped, the Seminoles went 9-4 on the season, but clear progress was being made on the field and on the recruiting trail. Fisher and his staff brought in the No. 1 class in the country. The 2012 season was a breakout season for Fisher. He won 12 games for the first time since the 1999 National Championship season and Florida State's first ACC championship since 2005. 

The 2013 season was one of the best season's by a college football team in history. The Seminoles went 14-0 and only played one game within 14 points. They won the ACC and National Championships, and had a multitude of award winners including Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. 

The 2014 season was filled with close games and near misses, but when the smoke cleared the Seminoles were once again the only unbeaten team in college football through the regular season. Florida State lost to Oregon in the first round of the playoff due, in large part, to five Seminole turnovers.

Now Florida State is undefeated again halfway through what was expected to be a rebuilding year. With all the wins, all the draft picks, all the All-Americans and award winners, Jimbo Fisher has never won a coaching award. Despite winning three straight ACC championships Fisher has not won the ACC coach of the year award. He has never been more than a semifinalist for the National coach of the year award.

Fisher has a higher career winning percentage than every other coach in college football at .853. He has won more games since he took over the Florida State job than any coach in the country besides Alabama's Nick Saban, who he is tied with at 64. He is fourth all time in wins through the first five years of his head coaching career with 58. 

So the question remains why Fisher is not getting the national respect, or even the conference respect, he deserves? After completely turning around the Florida State program and building it into one of the top programs in the country, Fisher has more than earned it. 


Nole Digest Top Stories