Sports

A New Day Dawns: What's Next For Florida State?

Chris Surrency

Finally, the nightmare is over in Tallahassee, Jimbo Fisher is officially out the door and now he becomes Texas A&M’s headache. Fisher was never the right man for the job at Florida State, he just never lived up to the expectations set in place by those who made him the heir apparent to Bobby Bowden. Many fans of Florida State have been wishing this day would come around for years, there has been a ton of rejoicing from the Seminole faithful as a result. While Fisher boasts an 83-23 record as the head coach at Florida State, take into account that part of that record was 27-1 while Jameis Winston at the helm. When you take that out his record, while still solid, is a far less impressive 56-22 overall. Basically, if he doesn’t have an elite level quarterback Fisher is just another “better than just good” coach. When you consider names like Phillip Fulmer at Tennessee and his nearly 80% win percentage and Tom Osborne being well over 80% at Nebraska, Jimbo without Jameis is just over 70%, not nearly good enough for such a high profile program. Florida State needs someone more convincing and more impressive leading the team, and it’s time for that name to be brought aboard with Fisher out of the way.

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Rumors have already started to swirl about the next coach on the sidelines in Tallahassee, looking at all the options available there is one name I wouldn’t mind in the position that I feel may not get a truly fair shot. Once word broke of Fisher finally leaving the next thing I learned was that his interim replacement was coach Odell Haggins. Coach Haggins is a former Seminole player who had a very short stint in the NFL, then he came aboard as a coach under Bobby Bowden in the mid 90’s, he’s been a mainstay ever since. A native Floridian, born in Lakeland and playing football in Bartow, Haggins is a homegrown product who has a connection to Central Florida, helping draw talent from areas sometimes overlooked by other programs. This is a man respected and admired by the players, he’s connected to two of the three national championship teams, and is a disciple of Bowden. Again, I know he doesn’t come with “name value” but I feel very strongly, as do many other fans, Coach Haggins deserves some serious consideration for the job as the head coach of the Florida State Seminoles. There may be other choices out there that could make a bigger national headline, but at the end of the day would you rather risk a ton of money on a front page headline that fades in a couple years, or a man you know is loyal to the program and could be around for many years to come.

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Looking at the possible choices for head ball coach outside of keeping Coach Haggins in position, there are plenty of interesting options available. Some say Willie Taggart is a good choice, but personally I feel he’s a step down from our current “interim” coach in overall name value. There is also the potential for Les Miles, although I get the feeling he’s the top choice in Tennessee now, or maybe even Gus Malzahn. I feel Malzahn is locked in at Auburn for at least the next five years on his win at Alabama alone, so that likely pulls him off the table. Another name that’s popped up lately is Charlie Strong, but I feel his time at Texas showed he is a hell of a defensive mind but he’s not a head coach option. I liken him to a Norv Turner on the NFL level, incredible mind but not a head coach. It seems that Mike Leach was suggested for the Tennessee job, but personally I would keep him out of Florida State. Leach is an air it out master and if we’re being honest Florida State has never been a bastion of superior quarterback play, I just don’t see his system working in Tallahassee. With all the different options laying around, Florida State could very well have their pick of the top of the crop, just have to see what way they lean.

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My personal top choice would legitimately be to offer the job to Coach Haggins, but if they’re going another direction I would love to see Chris Petersen hauled in from the West Coast. He’s a high character coach, has a proven winning track record, and seems to have a serious eye for talent that other coaches may not spot. If he comes on board and Coach Haggins doesn’t want to be a head coach, maybe we could see the best of both worlds with Haggins running the defense while Petersen spearheads the offense. I don’t know what direction the team will go any more than anyone else, I’m just a lifelong fan with some serious ideas that might help the team. If you wanted to go way out into left field, they could just throw every dollar available to them at Jon Gruden to pull him out of that booth. He could always flash that Super Bowl ring on recruit visits, and honestly who wouldn’t love a war of words between Gruden and Harbaugh sometime down the road? These are probably incredible long shots, so we just have to sit back and see what happens in the coming weeks. Do you reward loyalty, reach for the headline grabbing name, or a larger than life option to lead the team back to the top of the ACC? We’ll all know, and I suspect it’ll happen far sooner than later, with so many big jobs open you need to act fast to lock in your choice.

Chris Surrency

Chris Surrency is an aspiring author and article writer with opinions on many different topics. He fell in love with writing as a child in elementary school and has taken any occasion possible to let the words that roll around in his head come out whether it be in a notebook or on a computer. Chris got his first opportunity to write online at WWENews.net, a subsidiary site for Wrestling News World, posting opinion pieces. He later joined the Yahoo Contributor's Network, covering many topics from science to video games and back to sports, and almost all points in between, he posted well over one hundred articles up until the moment Yahoo dismantled the network. Since that time he's provided content to different sites online, written his first novel, and eventually made his way to MCXV where he's finally capturing the enjoyment he once found while writing at Yahoo once again.