(***Latest update found here***)
According to separate sources close to the Board of Governors and Governor's Office, Jimbo Fisher, heir-definite to the Florida State throne, is in discussions with those representing the interests of West Virginia University. Fisher's newly signed contract at FSU stipulates that he not have any direct contact with WVU, hence the "those representing the interests" portion of the previous statement. Fisher is very interested in the vacant WVU job.
If these discussions are to continue, here is what needs to happen, according to those same sources:
- Again, Fisher and WVU must not have any direct negotiations.
- Fisher may not officially interview for the position.
- All communications between the two parties must be conducted through back channel representatives.
Fisher's current contract carries a buy-out of $2.5 million. Jimmy Sexton, famously the agent to both Fisher and Nick Saban (as redundantly reminded to me 4,000 times in these comments), has told numerous people that the buyout is quote "manageable" (considering the controversy over the buyouts of Beilein and Rodriguez, this is easily believable).
That said, Fisher is merely the newest (and hottest) candidate on the WVU job search scene. Doc Holliday, favorite of AD Ed Pastilong, is still the favorite. Terry Bowden is still the favorite of many boosters and fans. Fisher, however, was the leading candidate last year when Rodriguez had reportedly left to Alabama and would've been the favorite this year before his new deal with FSU.
Look for Jimbo Fisher to quickly make up any ground he lacks on Holliday and Bowden.
UPDATE #1: WBOY is reporting that Jimbo Fisher is now a top candidate for the job.
Clarksburg native, and Florida State offensive coordinator, Jimbo Fisher's name was also been picking up steam Friday night.
Rumors are flying around Morgantown that Fisher has jumped to the top of the list of candidates, and that a contract may have even been offered.
A source close to the situation told 12 Sports he didn't want to elaborate too much, but implied that negotiations could be going on.
Post-Gazette running with the same vibe this morning:
West Virginia's coaching search took an abrupt turn yesterday: Florida State offensive coordinator and head-coach-in-waiting Jimbo Fisher suddenly came into view as a candidate to replace new Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez.
It's a delicate situation, because Fisher, a native of Clarksburg, W.Va., cannot even interview or have any personal contact whatsoever with West Virginia officials. If there were, under his Florida State deal announced four days ago, Fisher would be subject to personally paying his $2.5 million buyout to Florida State. He joked about it to Tallahassee-area reporters when the contract, an extension through 2011, was unveiled this week that he could interview elsewhere so long as "somebody wants to pay $2.5 million. ..."
See #1-#3 above. If Fisher is going to be a candidate, the interview/hiring process needs to be handled very delicately.
UPDATE #2: ESPN2 went on the air with the "Fisher to WVU" angle. They also mentioned his $2.5 million buyout. In the next
few hours day or so, we'll be posting an analysis of the buyout and why we believe (with our law school education) that this buyout isn't going to stick.
UPDATE #3: This isn't a huge announcement, but I can confirm that as of 5:30 Saturday evening, Jimbo Fisher has NOT been offered the job. Like I said, not mind-blowing stuff, but it's still something.