With all the resources that go into facilities, strength and conditioning, recruiting, nutrition, player development, schemes, and everything in between, simply managing games is perhaps the most overlooked and underutilized aspect of being a head coach.
A few coaches, including LA Rams head coach Sean McVay have recognized it’s importance, going as far as to hire a coaching veteran to be in his ear on game day to help him manage specific scenarios.
On his weekly radio show, Jimbo Fisher was asked about how he’s grown as a game manager, how he’s become one of the better ones in college football, and he shared that it traces back to how he was raised and the type of questions he’s constantly asking himself.
Jimbo shared that his dad was constantly asking him “Why’d you do that?” after games growing up, and they’d unpack why it was right or wrong. And it wasn’t limited to just football, his father would ask about his decision making process in baseball too. Fisher’s father would always encourage him to “beat him with your head” and figure it out, not allowing a young Jimbo to use the excuse of someone being bigger, or faster, or stronger.
Fisher shared that it helped him at a young age to learn situations, how to manage games, how to steal games, how to mark the clock while the he and his father would sit down and watch games together, and he shared that he also called plays and called timeouts dating as far back as junior high.
“The ‘why’s’ of the game have always intrigued me. Studying the why’s of the game and what made everything work. It just has always intrigued me, and my dad influenced me that way, because he made me think that way.”
Toward the end of the interview, Jimbo transitioned to some advice for coaches out there.
“If you can go coach, and be happy doing something else, then go do it. If you can’t be happy doing anything else other than coaching, then coach. Becuase it is too time consuming and too demanding, there are too many things from recruiting and all that, to be the elite guy, and to be the elite team. It’s just too demanding not to.”
See the part where Fisher dishes about game management in the clip below.