Current job: N/A
Previous jobs: Head coach, St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams (2012-16), Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans (1995-2010), various NFL assistant coaching jobs (1985-1994)
Career Record (NFL): 173-165-1
So, Jeff Fisher made it onto Chris Lee’s initial Hot Board alongside Will Healy, Clark Lea, and Jamey Chadwell. We’ve profiled the other three and now, let’s talk about Jeff Fisher.
You all know about Jeff Fisher. He was the Titans’ head coach when they moved from Houston (meaning, he’s coached at Vanderbilt Stadium before, har!) and did reasonably well in that position, making the playoffs six times in 16 years and making it to Super Bowl XXXIV, where he lost to the St. Louis Rams. His five-year tenure as the Rams’ head coach went less well, with a 31-45-1 record and leading to endless jokes about 7-9 bullshit.
When you take the four names on the Hot Board, one of these things is not like the others.
Why he’d be a good fit: Herm Edwards, hired by Arizona State under similar circumstances to Fisher (longtime NFL coach who’d been out of coaching for a while), actually seems to be doing reasonably well as a “CEO” type of coach, and you can talk yourself into Fisher doing the same thing at Vanderbilt. He’s obviously extremely well-known in Nashville and Middle Tennessee and that would probably help on the recruiting trail.
Why it wouldn’t work: Because what part of this makes you think that it would? Fisher hasn’t been a coach in almost five years and he’s never been a coach at the college level. Most NFL guys who drop down to the college level have either been a college coach at some point or else they’re young enough to put in the energy on the recruiting trail.
Overall thoughts: When I profiled Will Healy, I wasn’t impressed with his resume, but at least I would feel like Vanderbilt is trying. Fisher would be different. This would be a lazy and uninspired hire that in the best-case scenario is a table-setter hire, with Fisher coaching something like four years and maybe restocking the roster for the next guy. It’s certainly not a long-term fix and might not even be a short-term fix. If I worry that Will Healy might be Watson Brown 2.0, Jeff Fisher might be more like Rod Dowhower 2.0. And for those who don’t remember the Rod Dowhower era (1995-96), well, that went very poorly, but unlike Watson Brown, it felt like Vanderbilt wasn’t even trying any more.