Trouble in Seminole nation

Trouble in Seminole nation

by Tim LoneStaff Writer

ESPN released a report Oct. 6 that Florida State University’s board of trustees had asked head football coach Bobby Bowden to step down following the 2009 season, and allow offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher to take over the program.

A report released later the same day stated that the board of trustees had not in fact asked Bowden to step down, but there is still much talk about the state of disarray surrounding the football program at Florida State.

Fisher was labeled as the head coach-in-waiting in 2007. Bowden’s contract with Florida State runs out following the 2010 season.

Reports from ESPN say that if Fisher does not take over the head coaching position after the 2010 season, Florida State will have to pay Fisher the hefty sum of $5 million.

It’s no secret that Florida State has been struggling as of late. Just a few weeks ago, FSU had to rally and score two touchdowns in the final 35 seconds to avoid a devastating loss to Jacksonville State.

The Seminoles are now 2-3 for the first time since Bowden came to Florida State more than 30 years ago and 0-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference for the first time ever.

There’s no doubt there is a messy situation in the Seminole camp, but I would argue it’s one that could have been avoided by taking action before this season or waiting until the end of the year.

Regardless of how the team is doing, the middle of the season is not the time to be talking about a coaching change for the next year.

Talk like this is only going to serve as an unneeded distraction for the football team during an already tough season. In my mind, bringing up this issue now is only going to make a bad situation worse.

I have one other bone to pick with this situation, and that is with Fisher’s title of head coach-in-waiting. I certainly understand the need for a program like Florida State to groom a successor for Bowden, but why does there need to be a title attached to him?

And furthermore, why not wait until Bowden steps down and then offer him a contract? This could end up being a costly misstep for the Seminoles.

It’s clear by reading reports from, and other newspapers in the state of Florida, that the call for Bowden’s retirement has nothing to do with how much respect the Florida State faithful have for the legendary coach and had everything to do with being successful in the here and now.

Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi summed it up best: “The love and admiration we all have for Bobby doesn’t put fans in the seats, money in the coffers or national championships in the trophy case. Bobby used to be able to do all those things, but clearly he cannot anymore.”

Bowden will turn 80 years old on Nov. 8 and has won 384 games in his coaching career. Of those wins, 283 have come at Florida State. Bowden has also accumulated 12 ACC championships (1992-2000, 2002, 2003, 2005) and two National Championships (1993, 1999).

As an avid sports fan and an even bigger football fan, I have to say it is sad to see a coaching icon like Bowden start to fade. But when you get down to it, Florida State has to protect their best interests, which are competing for National Titles and ACC championships.

As much as it pains me to say it, maybe that means saying goodbye to one of college football’s greatest coaches.