Fisher won’t coach in the Seminoles’ game against Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday, sources told ESPN. Florida State officials plan to announce his resignation Friday afternoon.
Fisher, 52, had hoped to wait to announce his decision until after Saturday’s regular-season finale, which the Seminoles (5-6, 3-5 ACC) need to win to extend their streak of 35 consecutive bowl games. The game was postponed from Sept. 9 and rescheduled to Saturday because of Hurricane Irma.
On ESPNU SiriusXM radio Thursday, Fisher said he was not going to talk about potential jobs. Asked for a timetable when he might make a choice, Fisher answered, “I always make decisions at the end of the year, after things are finished.”
When Texas A&M fired Kevin Sumlin on Sunday, athletic director Scott Woodward stated a desire to compete for SEC and national championships. When asked Thursday what he would be looking for in a coach, university chancellor John Sharp deadpanned, “Nothing serious, just want him to win a national championship.”
Sumlin went 51-26 in six seasons with the Aggies.
Texas A&M sources indicated to ESPN that the Aggies were prepared to make Fisher one of the sport’s highest-paid coaches with an annual salary of more than $7 million, ranking behind Alabama‘s Nick Saban ($11.1 million in total compensation this year, average of $8.27 million over eight years). Clemson‘s Dabo Swinney is currently behind Saban ($8.5 million this year, average of $6.75 million over eight years).
In December 2016, Fisher signed a contract extension through 2024 that put him among the six highest-paid coaches in the country.
“Obviously, he feels like it’s the right move for him. I don’t know,” Swinney said, when told of the move during a news conference for the ACC championship game. “I know he did an unbelievable job at Florida State. This is a business that’s very public, as we all know, and from time to time, you have to make decisions. … I like Jimbo. It’s been a great, competitive journey. I’ve known him forever, when I was at Alabama and he was at Auburn.
“Florida State is Florida State. They’ll hire a great coach. I don’t have any doubt about that. And I guess we’ll see [Fisher] next year, if that’s what he’s going to do. We play Texas A&M the next two years. If he is [going to the Aggies], I can’t get rid of him. He’ll still be a thorn in our side.”
ESPN reported last week that several Florida State officials expected Fisher to leave and have been preparing to target his replacement. The Seminoles, sources said, would like to target a minority coach, if possible. Oregon‘s Willie Taggart, Sumlin and South Florida‘s Charlie Strong are options who might be considered.
Fisher won the BCS National Championship in 2013 with the Seminoles and was 83-23 in eight seasons as their head coach.
Texas A&M last won a conference championship in 1998 when the Aggies were members of the Big 12. The school’s lone national championship came in 1939.
Information from ESPN’s Mark Schlabach and Sam Khan Jr. and The Associated Press was used in this report.