Jimbo Fisher Has About As Much Control as the Queen of England

Someone has to stand up for Jimbo Fisher, so it may as well be me. I’m not a Florida State fan, but I certainly love the state of Florida. To say Jimbo Fisher is in a tough position is the understatement of 2014. But, let’s be real, he isn’t the first to find himself in a similar position.In the post-podcast discussion with Kevin Hicks, he and I had a long talk about coaches who can do pretty much whatever they want to do, and coaches who can’t. Those rights are based on a lot of things, but a lot of it doesn’t have to do with wins, but mostly has to do with the athletics director, president, and board of trustees. There are many cases where coaches have ALL the control. Many of these coaches are obvious: Nick Saban, Jim Tressel, Frank Beamer, and guys like Bill Snyder. These coaches, for many reasons have ALL the control because they’ve been around forever, won multiple national championships, or basically don’t put up with anything. Yes, Steve Spurrier is obviously in this group as well. Calm down, you know I love him. And no, let's not forget about Bear Bryant, Tom Osborne, and Knute Rockne. No one had more control than the three of them, not even Nick Saban. But, in many cases, like the one with Jimbo Fisher, despite success certain coaches do not have all the control. Fisher, like Bobby Bowden before has obviously been successful at what they’ve accomplished at Florida State. I speak specifically of Fisher, because I think despite the success that Jameis Winston has brought to the program, Fisher is probably done with Winston. Fisher has, in many eyes, a good reputation when it comes to dealing with player problems, but based on his – or rather his bosses – handling of all of Jameis Winston’s off-field issues, Fisher’s reputation has taken a serious hit. No, I’m not suggestion with 100% accuracy that Fisher would dismiss Winston, but I have a feeling that Fisher was probably in favor of benching Winston the entire game versus Clemson before he was against it, then before he was for it again. Look, it’s close to November, so you knew a political reference was coming. I think that Fisher, who is probably up to his ears with Winston and his antics, wanted to sit Winston after everything that happened last year, and was overruled by a combination of the athletic director and Florida State’s interim president. Don’t discount the boosters, alumni, and board of directors. They’re probably heavily involved in keeping Winston on the field as well. No, this situation isn’t exclusive to Florida State. I live in Ohio, and we have our own example of a coach who we think is running the ship, but clearly isn’t. Urban Meyer. Based on what we’ve seen the past few seasons in Columbus, do you honestly think Urban Meyer has any love or desire to keep Luke Fickell around in a coordinators position? I don’t, and based on the tweets I see from Buckeye Nation, they’re ready for him to go. Who else has this problem? Mark Richt, but luckily his problem solved itself when Todd Grantham persuaded Bobby Petrino to hire him at Louisville. Richt is in the same position as Meyer, who is in the same position as Steve Sarkisian at USC, who is in the same position that Mack Brown was in at Texas. To wit, there are very few coaches that have all the control. Yours probably isn’t one of them. It hurts, but the head coach of your program can’t be compared to the CEO of a major corporation despite the millions they might bring into the athletic program. So the question is, how does your coach get to be the pseudo-CEO of his program and university? How does your overpaid coach, get his underpaid boss to hope that he doesn’t get fired by the coach? Easy…become bigger than the program. Do you think that Jameis Winston would have gotten away with any of this behavior on a Steve Spurrier’s team? Jim Tressel’s? I was seriously considering Pete Carroll, but we all know the answer is yes there. How about Nick Saban’s team? Mark Dantonio? The problem for coaches like Jimbo Fisher, Steve Sarkisian, Urban Meyer, and Brian Kelly is that even though they’re successful, they aren’t where it really matters. Winning tons of games and bringing in tons of money certainly helps, but coaches need to be as confrontational with their bosses as they are with referees. How do you let everyone know you aren’t in charge? Call your boss in the press box and tell him you’re upset about a penalty. Then have your boss yell at the referees on national television. That tells America who is really running your program. Want to let everyone in America know you’re in charge? When your star shows up on the field in pads after you told him he’s suspended, send him back in – immediately – and make him change. Then at the press conference explain that your star player isn’t running the program. I know disciplining people is difficult, especially when they’re the key to your bonuses. And yeah, I love my bank account about more than I love anything else, but the respect of colleagues is almost as important. And if I’m a coach, I want to be seen as the dude who’s actually running my program, not my boss or interim president. So much for defending Jimbo.