Opinion

Jimbo Fisher earns his way to top of college football

An editorial from the Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Another West Virginia coach has reached the pinnacle of major college football.

Clarksburg’s Jimbo Fisher is there after his Florida State University team capped a 14-0 season Monday night with a 34-31 victory against Auburn in the last BCS championship game.

After a season of one-sided wins, the victory in the championship game didn’t come easily for Fisher and the Seminoles. They trailed by 18 points and scored the winning touchdown with only 13 seconds remaining.

Still, Florida State of the Atlantic Coast Conference snapped the Southeastern Conference’s seven-year national title streak.

“The SEC is great football. I coached in that league for 13 years, I respect every bit of it,” Fisher said, “but there’s some other folks in this country that can play some football, too.”

And he knows another coach from North Central West Virginia, Monongah High School graduate Nick Saban, was a big part of the SEC’s run. He coached Alabama to national titles capping the 2009, 2011 and 2012 seasons after winning a national championship at LSU to end the 2003 campaign.

Part of Fisher’s long preparation to become a successful head coach involved working under Saban at LSU.

Fisher was a quarterback at Clarksburg’s Liberty High School before going to Salem, where he played quarterback under coach Terry Bowden.

In 1985, a huge crowd at Fairmont State watched Fisher help Salem pull away late for a 43-24 win in a battle of two talented West Virginia Conference opponents.

When Bowden left for Samford University, Fisher transferred to play his final season there and was named Division III National Player of the Year.

After a year in the the Arena Football League, Fisher rejoined Bowden at Samford and began his coaching career.

He started as a graduate assistant coach working with quarterbacks from 1988-1990.

“You were 23 years old and you didn’t know you didn’t know,” Fisher said in a December interview with The Charleston Gazette. “We were just flying around and doing everything and just happy to have any kind of job. I look back and some of the most fun was in those early, early years — you were finding out if you had what it took to be a coach, and if you really loved the lifestyle of that whole profession.”

He did…

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