Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame to Induct Jeff Fisher
NASHVILLE – Jeff Fisher does not like to be surprised.
Thus, Friday’s announcement that he would be part of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020 elicited mixed emotions from the former Tennessee Titans coach.
Fisher was a guest on a local sports talk radio show when Brad Willis, executive director of the TSHOF, walked in and delivered the news.
“Sometimes in life it’s amazing how your day can change in a moment’s notice,” Fisher said a short time later. “… I can’t tell you how honored I am to be part of this year’s class. Really, it caught me off guard. It’s an emotional thing here. You get kind of in a groove doing things and … all of a sudden something as great and as special as this is a reminder of everything that we did over the years.”
What Fisher did was win more games than any coach in franchise history and take the team to the Super Bowl, which no one else who has had the job before or since has been able to do. In 16-plus seasons in charge, his teams went 142-120, made the playoffs six times, including four in a five-year span from 1999-2003, won three division titles and finished .500 or better 11 times.
What happened on the field was only part of the story. Fisher also helped guide the transition from the Houston Oilers to the Tennessee Titans, a process in which the team played its home games in three cities and four different stadiums from 1996-99. He was undeniably the leading voice for the franchise during its early days in Nashville, which at the time was in its infancy as a pro sports city.
“When you’re not expecting something like this – I use the term overwhelming – but, yeah, (memories) come back,” Fisher said “A day doesn’t go by where you don’t share a story with somebody, whether it’s on the phone or with somebody you meet someplace.
“… We were the first ones here and we did it as best as we could. And we did it right. We kind of built the foundation for it. And along with the foundation we created an expectation, which I think is important because fans deserve the right and the opportunity to root for a winner.”
Fisher is the fifth member of the 2020 Class to be named. Ultimately, 11 people will be inducted during a formal ceremony in June.
He joins four of his former players – tight end Frank Wycheck (2013), running back Eddie George (2014), quarterback Steve McNair (2016) and safety Blaine Bishop (2018) – as well as franchise founder K.S. “Bud” Adams (2006) in the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.
“This is a great state,” Fisher said. “It’s home. It’s home for us, and to be inducted and to be recognized with all those that have come before me and those that will come after … . This is not about me. This is about all those people that were working together and going in the same direction with the same purpose in mind – and that was to build a franchise here in this great city.”