Moments after slipping on a new maroon jacket as the new coach at Texas A&M, Jimbo Fisher said the right things about his decision to leave Florida State.
He thanked Seminoles legend Bobby Bowden for giving him a chance. He thanked FSU administrators for their support.
But when he turned his focus back to the Aggies, the pleasantries disappeared.
"It was a no-brainer," Fisher said during Monday’s introductory news conference at A&M.
Those words won’t smooth over any hurt feelings in Tallahassee about the way Fisher left — one day before the regular-season finale, after weeks of silence over his future.
Neither will these:
"You can have the greatest coaches in the world," Fisher said, "but if your administration doesn’t see things in the way you see things, and allow you to do things that way, nothing can be achieved."
The Seminoles and Fisher, apparently, didn’t see things the same way, which is why Fisher became the first coach in four decades to leave a program where he won a national title to take another college job. The behind-the-scenes tension over FSU’s commitment to infrastructure and facilities had been building for weeks until it boiled over — apparently spilling into Fisher’s first public appearance in College Station.
Fisher had other reasons for wanting a restart on his career after 11 seasons at FSU (three as coach-in-waiting, eight as head coach).
His 10-year, $75 million contract is believed to be the largest total sum in college football history. Fisher knows and respects the SEC thanks to his time as an assistant at Auburn and LSU. He has a great relationship with Aggies athletic director Scott Woodward after working with him in Baton Rouge.
"There’s a oneness to everything you to do be successful," Fisher said, "and I knew he had the same vision I did."
It became obvious last week that Fisher and FSU didn’t share that same vision. Fisher’s weeks-long silence about his future only made things worse.
Although rumors about A&M pursuing Fisher had been circulating for a month, Fisher said A&M first reached out to his representatives last week, leading up to the Louisiana-Monroe game. A&M’s board of regents met to discuss a replacement for the ousted Kevin Sumlin on Thursday; a day later, Fisher resigned, leaving defensive tackles coach Odell Haggins to coach the Seminoles.
And on Monday, Fisher was saying "Howdy" to his new fan base and receiving a pair of Aggies-themed cowboy boots before diving into recruiting before the inaugural early signing period begins Dec. 20.
Fisher won’t coach A&M in the Belk Bowl against Wake Forest, but he’s excited about trying to bring A&M its first SEC title after that. The Aggies are starved for big-time success to match their top-tier resources, facilities and, yes, financial commitment. That’s why Fisher left one destination job for another.
"I had no plans of ever leaving there …" Fisher said of FSU. "As I researched, I thought it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up and a challenge out there I just couldn’t pass up."
Contact Matt Baker at [email protected] Follow @MBakerTBTimes.