Dec. 31, 2013
Against a team he helped put together, Dameyune Craig will try to help Auburn win its second crystal football (Todd Van Emst photo)
By Phillip Marshall
ANAHEIM, Calif. - Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher knew as last season ended that, in 2013, he would have a team with a chance to play for a championship. Dameyune Craig, his quarterbacks coach, knew it, too.
It comes as no surprise that Fisher and Craig have flown to California for Monday's BCS Championship Game at the Rose Bowl. The surprise is that they're not on the same team. Craig left Florida State last January to coach at Auburn, where he became a star quarterback with Fisher as his position coach.
And he helped Auburn make it to the big game, too. The No. 2 Tigers (12-1) and No. 1 Seminoles (13-0) will play for the game's biggest prize.
At the ESPN Zone at Disneyland, Fisher said Tuesday that Craig values and work ethic made him successful as a player and make him successful as a coach.
After following newly named head coach Terry Bowden from Samford to Auburn in early 1993, Fisher recruited Craig out of Blount High School in Prichard.
"He's the same guy," Fisher said. "He was 177 pounds when he came out. He was going to Southern Miss. He didn't believe we would play him at quarterback. I had to convince him of that."
Craig waited his turn through a redshirt year and two years as a backup before claiming virtually all of Auburn's passing records. When Fisher was named head coach at Florida State before the 2010 season, he snatched Craig away from South Alabama.
"I had a great relationship with him," Fisher said. "He's one of my favorite guys I've ever coached. He is one of the best competitors, one of the toughest son of a guns I've ever coached. He affected guys in a great way. He was a tremendous player and a great guy."
Craig lured quarterback Jameis Winston, who won the Heisman Trophy, to Florida State.
"Oh, he was very good, getting up there and getting that relationship going," Fisher said. "Jameis trusted him. Dameyune recruits well and coaches well. He's going to be in this business for a long time."
Fisher spent five seasons as Auburn's quarterbacks coach, leaving after the 1998 season. He was offensive coordinator at Cincinnati and LSU before moving to Florida State as "head coach in waiting" on Bobby Bowden's staff.
"It is kind of ironic," Fisher said. "I cut my teeth in Division I football at Auburn. I was learning how to recruit and learning how to coach. I didn't even know I didn't know how to do it. We always put our noses down and worked. It's amazing the success we had - great people, great friends. I have nothing but great memories of those times."
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: