CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As Clemson coach Dabo Swinney left Friday’s news conference before the ACC title game, he brought up the other massive story in the league.
"So Jimbo took that job, huh?"
Yes, Dabo. Yes, he did.
Jimbo Fisher resigned from Florida State to become the next coach at Texas A&M. The move resonated throughout the ACC, even as No. 7 Miami prepared to play No. 1 Clemson tonight with a College Football Playoff berth at stake.
"I know that he did an unbelievable job at Florida State," Swinney said. "It’s been a great competitive journey. I’ve known him forever. When I was at Alabama, he was at Auburn. If that’s what he’s doing, evidently he feels like that’s the right move for him and his family and the right time to do so."
Fisher compiled a 48-16 ACC record in his eight seasons. That includes three consecutive conference championships (2012-14), an Atlantic Division title in 2010 and a national championship in the 2013 season.
ACC commissioner John Swofford said Fisher’s departure is "tough to see" because continuity helps successful programs stay that way.
But he’s not worried about the Seminoles finding a replacement. Likely candidates include Oregon’s Willie Taggart, Virginia Tech’s Justin Fuente and USF’s Charlie Strong.
"I think Florida State is one of the absolutely best coaching jobs in college football," Swofford said. "I don’t think there’s any question that (athletic director) Stan Wilcox and President (John) Thrasher will attract a high-quality coach. It’s such an established program and has everything there to compete for ACC and national championships. I would hope and expect that to continue."
With Fisher gone and UCF’s Scott Frost seemingly headed for Nebraska, the longest-tenured coach in the state will be … Miami’s Mark Richt.
Monday is the two-year anniversary of Richt’s hire.
"Things change in a hurry," said Richt, 57, a longtime assistant at FSU (1990-2000) before getting his first head coaching job at Georgia (2001-15).
But maybe they don’t change that much after all.
Fisher’s third game at A&M will be against Louisiana-Monroe, the team the Seminoles face without him today as they try to become bowl-eligible.
His second game? Against Swinney’s Tigers.
"I can’t get rid of him," Swinney joked. "(He’ll) still be a thorn in our side."
Contact Matt Baker at [email protected] Follow @MBakerTBTimes.