Reprinted by The Exponent Telegram
CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Jimbo Fisher’s journey to head coach at Florida State started on a farm in Clarksburg, W.Va. Each summer Jimbo returns to his roots, along with his two sons, to visit family and friends, to relax and recharge.
This month Fisher allowed Palm Beach Post sports writer Tom D’Angelo and photographer Allen Eyestone unprecedented access into his life in the Mountaineer State, taking them on a journey to his family home — which is built on 300 acres — to a coal mine like the one where his father suffered horrific injuries during an explosion, and to the ballfields and schools where he competed and learned, growing into a three-sport All-Stater who realized athletics was his way out of a life in those coal mines.
But a college football coach can never truly get away from it all. While on vacation, Fisher had to deal with the fallout from freshman quarterback De’Andre Johnson striking a woman in the face in a Tallahassee bar. Fisher initially suspended Johnson pending an investigation but after a surveillance video of the incident was released, Fisher dismissed him from the team. Fisher then returned to Tallahassee to find out star running back Dalvin Cook was being investigated for also allegedly striking a woman at a bar. Cook has been charged with battery and suspended indefinitely from the team.
The two incidents refocused the spotlight on the program and Fisher, who issued a statement following Cook’s suspension promising FSU “will do better” and that he will “not tolerate anything less” when it comes to educating and holding players responsible for their actions.
Some have criticized Fisher for being too lenient or trusting when his players, particularly former star quarterback Jameis Winston, have gotten into legal trouble. To Fisher it’s a matter of not rushing to judgment or turning his back on players he promised to protect.
Keeping promises, even in difficult times, is one of the many lessons he learned as a boy on that farm in Clarksburg…