Florida State’s Jameis Winston won the Heisman Trophy last night. During his acceptance speech, the camera caught a teary-eyed head coach Jimbo Fisher. It was my favorite moment of the night. I like Jimbo, and have since he set foot on campus as offensive coordinator and head coach in waiting. At times, I have found his game plans flawed on the side of caution and his game management shaky, but he spoke a different language than Bobby Bowden, who’s jovial country bumpkin feigned humility had worn painfully thin for me under a recurrent tide of 2000’s mediocrity.
You can’t be named Jimbo and be without some bumpkin, but Jimbo spoke honestly of the present while projecting to the future. His football-speak sprung from a foundation of transcendent life lessons. He spoke the language of leadership.
He did not disappoint last night, “The true mark of a man is when you have your own individual issues, but you have a team to lead like a family, and he never let those get in the way of the rest of our players reaching their goals as a team. Just to know what he went through to get up there on that stage, sometimes as a coach It just hits you. To me, that’s why you’re in coaching, to watch them grow and achieve the things you know they’re capable of when there are odds against them. There’s no age limit on being a great player.”
This language is the tool primarily responsible for his success at Florida State where he has seamlessly taken over for a coaching legend without slippage in recruiting and while forging a stronger team culture bereft of mental mistakes and behavioral miscues so responsible for past failures. This team has been a joy to watch and the fruit of Fisher’s labor.