Skip to main content

Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher thought about quitting to be with son

Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher thought about walking away from the job in 2011 after his son was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

Get breaking news and SI’s biggest stories instantly. Download the new Sports Illustrated app (iOS or Android) and personalize your experience by following your favorite teams and SI writers.

Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher thought about walking away from his job in 2011 after his son was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease, he told the Palm Beach Post.

In March of 2011, the Fisher family discovered that Ethan, who was five years old at the time, had Fanconi anemia, a disease that carries a life expectancy of 35 years and has no cure.

“Yeah, it did cross my mind, without a doubt,” Fisher said about the possibility of stepping down. “I didn’t know what (Ethan’s condition) required, what it meant. ‘Should I coach? ‘Should I not coach?’

“I don’t know if we ever got to that point where we thought about it seriously, but it crossed my mind to think about that because I didn’t know until we found out everything.”

Fisher admitted that after he decided to return to coaching, it was often difficult for him to stay focused on the job. 

“That spring I was distracted,” Fisher said. “I was in practice and I would catch myself every now and then thinking about something. I have never done that before but I did occasionally that spring.

“I thought, ‘how am I going to do it? Am I doing it justice not being with him as much and feeling guilty every time? We got to learn to manage and every second I got a chance to be with my family, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Fisher and his ex-wife, Candi, eventually set up a foundation, Kidz1stFund, to raise money for research on Faconi anemia. The foundation has raised $3.5 million to date.