Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisher talks business

fsuA reporter at the ACC Football Kickoff this week was trying to put Florida State football coach jimbo fisher on the spot about the money being spent on upgrades to the program’s football facilities.

Fisher wasn’t so much defensive as he was incisive in response, from which you can easily see him as a corporate CEO, which of course the head of a top-tier FBS football program pretty much is.

“When you go to buy something, you walk into a business, you go into anything you ever do, the minute you walk in, you make a first impression. Is this place committed to excellence? Is it a championship organization? You can tell by the dirt on the floor, the paper in the alleys, whatever. The way the walls look, the bathrooms. You can tell by so many things. Everything you do sends a message,” Fisher said.

Fisher famously took over for the legendary Bobby Bowden, and there was some consternation among the FSU fan base when he got the job, not so much about his elevation, because he had been named head coach in waiting when he was brought in as an assistant on Bowden’s staff, but about the way it seemed Bowden, who had built Seminole football basically with his bare hands, had been shoved out the door.

On the flip side of that is that Bowden’s last five seasons had been mediocre by any standard, especially his, with FSU going just 38-27, with three 7-6 seasons in the span. Meaning Fisher had some rebuilding to do.

“Our players weren’t growing those first three years. Our culture, our administration, and all the things we had to do around those kids, that was growing. Player support, player development, mental conditioning. That’s the culture that had to change for us to be a champion,” said Fisher, whose teams improved to 10-4, 9-4 and 12-2 in his first three seasons before last year’s 14-0 breakthrough that ended with the program’s third national championship.

That kind of improvement and success doesn’t happen by accident.

“We expect excellence, there is excellence here, and if you’re going to come from New York or Maryland or California or Texas, you’re going to bypass all those schools to come to Florida State, the minute you walk in there, I want you to understand what kind of organization we have,” Fisher said. “We’re committed to excellence. We’re committed to developing you as a human being, as a student, and as a player. And that first impression, and the message it sends, is critical, if you want to be a championship organization.

“A championship organization isn’t all about players. It’s about the culture of a place and the message it sends by how it’s conducted and how it’s run,” Fisher said.

– Column by Chris Graham


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