To most people, he’s simply “Jimbo.”
John James Fisher just doesn’t have the same ring to it, and his official title of Florida State University head football coach doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.
Yet when he takes the stage Feb. 12 at the Emerald Coast Convention as the keynote speaker of the 47th annual All Sports Association Banquet, his introduction likely won’t be so formal.
Fisher, at the Seminoles’ helm since 2010 with a 68-13 record, will be lauded as a three-time Atlantic Coast Conference champion (2012-14) and the man who led FSU to a national championship in 2013.
“Obviously, a national champion coach coming in holds a lot of weight,” All Sports Association President Bill Kuhn said. “We approached him in late October, early November — we have some good FSU connections. One of our guys went and talked to him, and the questions Jimbo had were, ‘Where, when, how much?’ Not how much (money) he wanted, but how much we needed him to do.
“After he talked with others, he found out Bobby Bowden and Mickey Andrews had been a part of it, so he came back and told us, ‘I heard about it and I want to do it.’ ”
Fisher undoubtedly adds cachet to the banquet, the crowning achievement of an organization that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for youth-oriented nonprofit organizations.
“We’re thrilled to death to have him,” Kuhn said. “We’ve heard a lot of great things about his speaking prowess, and while I haven’t heard him speak personally, people say he has a great message.
“We’re not looking for him to deliver a message just about FSU football; he does that every day. We’re looking for him to deliver a strong message to the kids in the audience,” he added. Fisher isn’t the first pre-eminent college football coach to headline the showcase.
Bowden, Joe Paterno and Bear Bryant — the top-three winningest college football coaches of all time — have emceed the event, as have Nick Saban, Steve Spurrier and Lou Holtz.
Of course the banquet is so much bigger than one name. Recipients of the Wuerffel Trophy, Scholastic Male and Female, Collegiate Male and Female, Amateur, Haugen Trophy, Special Olympian and Colonel Al Byrne honors will be honored Feb. 12 as well.
Sponsorship tables are still available at $2,250 for 10 seats, while individual tickets for $100 could go on sale in the next month if the event isn’t sold out.
“The money goes right back into the community,” Kuhn said. “That’s what it’s all about, raising money for these nonprofits and celebrating great athletes.”