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FSU coach Bobby Bowden.::Marc Serota/Getty Images

Florida State president T.K. Wetherell attempted to remain loyal to football coach Bobby Bowden on Tuesday while at the same time reassuring fans that FSU would honor its succession plan for coach-in-waiting Jimbo Fisher.

In a statement released Tuesday morning, Wetherell said the school would evaluate the program at season's end, but under no circumstances would Bowden be forced out during the season.  "FSU does not make coaching changes in the middle of the season," Wetherell said. Still, the tone of Wetherell's statement suggests the school will take a hard look after the season at whether Bowden should continue as coach.

"We also expect our teams to be competitive," Wetherell said. "Our administration also is committed to those ideals.  In intercollegiate athletics that means evaluating every coaching position at the end of the season.  Any coach can choose to retire at any time.  However, it is the athletics director's responsibility to determine which coaches are hired and which contracts are extended."


Here is the full text of Wetherell's statement:


Coach Bobby Bowden is a friend of mine, as a mentor and coach since my freshman year at FSU in 1963.  His character and commitment to excellence has always been the signature of his career.  Two years ago Coach Bowden and I and others stood together and announced that we were beginning a period of transition for the football program. That plan is in place and will produce results, given the opportunity and support.

I want to assure all fans, friends, supporters and alumni of Florida State University that that transition will be finalized.  Jimbo Fisher will be Florida State University's next Head Football Coach.  We expect to work with Coach Fisher on a contract toward that end, and I will evaluate the program with the athletics director at the end of this season.

As educators we teach our students to always do the right thing, to do it the right way and to never give up. We teach them to always strive for excellence and to make good decisions with that end in mind.  Our athletics programs are built on the foundation of helping young people build character and display that in their personal actions as well as on the fields of play. We also expect our teams to be competitive.

Our administration also is committed to those ideals.  In intercollegiate athletics that means evaluating every coaching position at the end of the season.  Any coach can choose to retire at any time.  However, it is the athletics director's responsibility to determine which coaches are hired and which contracts are extended.

I know all of our fans, friends, supporters and alumni will accord the coaching staff and our young student-athletes all the support, encouragement and respect they deserve.  I will respect the process.  FSU does not make coaching changes in the middle of the season.  We are going to win games and build character.  We ask our coaches and players to play out every play of evey game -- and never, never quit. To quit on a team or coaches in mid season is not the Seminole way -- not the "unconquered" way.  What message would it send to anyone -- friend or foe -- to do that at this time?

Specifically, I also know that Bobby Bowden loves this university. I have talked with him at length, and I know that he will do the right thing, as he always has done. I know the man and I know what's in his heart.

I have spoken with numerous fans, alumni, Boosters, supporters and staff, and I will make a final report to the full Board of Trustees at the end of the year.  Until then, FSU will concentrate on supporting our team and student-athletes in winning as many games as possible.  Neither the university nor I will have further comment on this matter until then.

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