Some people think they're God: A&M's Jimbo Fisher shoots narcissistic Nick Saban - Sportsnet.ca

Some people think they’re God: A&M’s Jimbo Fisher shoots narcissistic Nick Saban – Sportsnet.ca

The Spring Meetings of the Southeast Conference will take place in-person since 2019 in just under two weeks.

It’s unlikely that two SEC super coaches were chatting together about Destin, Florida.

Jimbo Fisher called Texas A&M coach Nick Saban a “narcissist” Thursday after the Alabama coach accused rival Agiz of using name, image and likeness deals to get top-ranked hiring classes.

Less than 24 hours after Saban said Texas A&M was essentially “buying” players, Fisher called an impromptu press conference to blow up soccer’s most accomplished coach and former boss at LSU.

“It’s despicable for a reputable head coach to come out and say this when he’s not getting what he wants or things aren’t going his way,” Fisher said in College Station, Texas. “The narcissist in him doesn’t allow these things to happen – it’s ridiculous – when he’s not at the top. And the parity in college football he’s talking about? Go and talk to the coaches who trained for him. You’ll find all the parity. Go and dig where he was.”

Texas A&M earned the consensus of the nation’s #1 recruiting class for 2022 after beating Alabama during the regular season. Tide’s class was in second place. At his roughly 10-minute session, Fisher stated, “We’ve never bought anyone, and no rules have been broken. Nothing has been done wrong.”

Crimson Tide lost to the Aggies in 2021, but went on to win the SEC Championship and play for the national title. The Aggies finished 8-4 in their fourth season under Fisher, who, like Saban, is among the highest-paid coaches in the game with more than $9 million per season.

The public discord is perhaps the most horrific display of growing anxiety and fear among college coaches who are grappling with two big changes: the era of compensation, which began last July, and its impact on recruiting, and the ease with which players can now transition.

Saban, who has won six national championships and is widely regarded as one of the greatest coaches in the history of the game, described the current situation as unsustainable. At an event in Birmingham, Alabama, he said some schools spend “a lot of money to get players.”

“You read about them, you know who they are,” Saban said Wednesday. “We were number two in the recruiting last year. A&M was first. A&M bought every player on their team. Made a deal on name, photo, and example. We didn’t buy a single player. But I don’t know if we’ll be able to maintain that in the future, Because more and more people are doing it. It’s hard or rough.”

Fisher was an assistant under Saban in the early 2000s at LSU, serving as offensive coordinator on the 2003 national title team for the Tigers. That relationship has now been badly damaged.

“We’re done,” Fisher said, adding that Saban reached out by phone but did not return the call. “He showed you who he is. He is the greatest of all, right? When you have all the advantages, it is easy.”

He said Saban’s comments were an insult to Texas A&M and the families of the players who signed with the team.

“Some people think they are God,” Fisher said. “Go and dig into how God made his deal. You might find out something about a guy, a lot of things you don’t want to know. We’re building him to be this football tsar. Go dig into his past or whoever he’s trained with. You can find out anything you want to know what he’s doing. And how does he do that.”

“There is a reason why I wouldn’t go back to working with him, with chances,” Fisher added.

Texas A&M plays in Alabama on October 8, but Fisher and Saban won’t have to wait that long to cross with SEC meetings around the corner.

“I don’t cheat. I don’t lie. If I did, my old man would slap me in the face. Maybe someone (Saban) should have slapped him,” Fisher said.

The 56-year-old Fisher won a national championship in 2013 as head coach at Florida State before taking a 10-year, $75 million contract to leave Tallahassee for Texas A&M in 2017.

The NCAA lifted most of its rules preventing athletes from making money from sponsorship and endorsement deals last July, but there are concerns among many in college sports that NIL deals are being used for de facto recruiting and pay-to-play temptations. Last week, the NCAA issued guidance to Division I members to clarify its rules against reinforcers who participate in recruiting.

In February, Fisher broke from competitors who had been peddling rumors that Texas A&M had spent $30 million on nothing deals to get one of the highest hiring classes in history.

The 70-year-old Saban has been more targeted in his criticism of the current state of college football than he has been in the past. He also mentioned the state of Jackson and Miami in his statements.

Jackson State coach Dion Sanders, a celebrity professional footballer, was one of the best recruits in the country for cornerback Travis Hunter, who was committed to Florida State until signing day flipped in December.

“We as a people don’t have to pay our people to play with our people,” Sanders tweeted Wednesday night. Hunter also made an entry on social media.

As for Fisher, he said he’s looking forward to the Destin meetings.

“I don’t mind confrontation. I’ve lived with it my whole life,” Fisher said. “I kind of like it myself. Undoing it is not the way I was brought up.”



2022-05-19 16:56:00

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