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February 28, 2013

Jimbo Fisher's contract extension still in doubt

National Signing Day has come and gone and Florida State's Jimbo Fisher is still waiting to hear whether he will receive a contract extension.

Warchant.com reported in December that there were mixed feelings among leadership about offering a one-year extension to Fisher following the 2012 season. Since that time, Fisher has directed FSU to an Orange Bowl Championship and landed a third straight top 10 recruiting class despite massive changes to his coaching staff.

And with that, there still seems to be no clear plan.

One university source told Warchant.com last week that Fisher, who is currently on a contract paying $2.75 million annually through 2016, was expected to receive a one-year contract extension with no changes to the financial structure of the deal. However, when Warchant.com asked FSU athletic director Randy Spetman about a potential extension, he declined direct comment but sent a statement saying that "FSU is not in negotiations regarding Fisher's contract."

Another school source told Warchant.com on Wednesday that there has been discussion about a potential extension over recent weeks, but no decision has been made.

FSU President Eric Barron did not respond to a request seeking comment.

Fisher has received a raise or extension after his first two years as the Seminoles' head coach. After a 10-4 season in 2010, Fisher signed a five-year, $13.75 million contract, a bump up from his $1.8 million salary entering the year. After going 9-4 in 2011, Fisher was given a one-year extension with no raise just prior to FSU's win over Notre Dame in the Champs Sports Bowl, extending his contract through 2016.

Coach contracts in the Southeast
Coach Annual Salary Term
Nick Saban (Alabama) $5.62 million 2019
Les Miles (LSU) $4.3 million 2019
Charlie Strong (Louis.) $3.7 million 2020
Steve Spurrier (S.C.) $3.3 million 2017
Mark Richt (UGA) $3.2 million 2017
Butch Jones (Tenn) $2.95 million 2018
Will Muschamp (UF) $2.8 million 2017
Jimbo Fisher $2.75 million 2016
Gus Malzahn (Auburn) $2.3 million 2017
Dabo Swinney (Clemson) $2 million 2017
Al Golden (UM) $1.75 million 2020

Extending head coaches into a five-year contract is becoming commonplace at many major programs. Florida State's biggest in-state rivals, Florida and Miami, received contract extensions last year. Florida head coach Will Muschamp received a one-year extension last August, taking his current deal through 2017. At Miami, second-year head coach Al Golden was given a new contract in November that runs through 2020.

All told, every head coach of a major program in the Southeast currently has a contract that runs through at least 2017. That includes Mark Richt (Georgia), Dabo Swinney (Clemson), Auburn (Gus Malzahn), Les Miles (LSU), Steve Spurrier (South Carolina) and Nick Saban (Alabama).

There is debate about the true impact of having a coach on a four-year contract as opposed to a five-year deal, but one five-star recruit told Warchant.com that Fisher's contract was used against FSU before National Signing Day.

"A couple schools used it (against FSU)," Lamont Ramsey, father of five-star recruit Jalen Ramsey said. "Coaches always want to talk about stability and 'you need to go to where there is going to be some stability' and stuff like that... They were like 'he won 11 games and they didn't extend him and that must mean they are not wanting to keep him.' One or two schools did try to say that."

While schools may have tried to use Fisher's contract status against Florida State, Ramsey's said it had no impact on his son's decision.

Stay close to Warchant.com for updates as the story progresses.

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