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December 2, 2017

Odell Haggins

Tallahassee, Florida

Florida State - 42, LA Monroe - 10

COACH HAGGINS: Well, all the credit goes to our football players. It's not about me being named the interim head coach. It's about those kids. Resilient, how they fought. They didn't quit.

Florida State, if you look at the south end zone of that stadium, unconquered. Remember that. We haven't gone anywhere, and we're not going anywhere at Florida State University.

I am so proud of our kids -- Alec Eberle, Derwin James, Derrick Nnadi, I can keep going. They stayed in there with us.

Sometimes we base things on wins and losses, but this year our kids got a lot of life lessons not to quit. Keep fighting.

Them kids will remember this. Everybody say we went through turmoil. No. God put us through certain things for reasons. You learn from them and they make you stronger as a man, make you stronger as a woman.

So no, I'm not going to say Florida State is 6-6. They had a sub-par season. I'm going to say this: Our kids learned a lot this year about life. I'm so happen for them. Happy for our organization, Stan Wilcox, President Thrasher the coaches on down, the old man Rick Trickett advising me. It's not just about me. It's about everybody -- Lawrence Dawsey, Dameyune Craig. Randy Sanders. Charles Kelly. Brad Lawing. Bill Miller. Tim Brewster. Jay Graham. We had a job to finish. I'm so happy for our kids. That's the main thing. It's not about Odell, I'm going to say it again, being the interim. I'm happy to be named that. I'm just happy for our kids. Now, are there any questions.

Q. The way the kids responded to you from the first time you met with them yesterday to walk-through before the game, after the game, just speak in terms of the emotion those young men showed toward you and in turn you to them, what that means to you?
COACH HAGGINS: I'm going to say this. Me and Coach Fisher are close. We share some of the same values with young men. So it wasn't tough. I was trained well by a man named Mickey Andrews. That's my mentor through life. So as soon as Mr. Wilcox called me for this, I said, "Let's go." I was trained well.

I had a great leader in Mickey Andrews. Never quit. Never flinched. And the kids, they responded well because they know when they see Odell Haggins, my heart goes out to them.

I'm going to put everything in it for them. Not Odell. That's what it's about. That's why I think they responded well to me. They know I love them. I know some guys, sometimes my guy, Derrick Nnadi, he thought I was crazy when he first got here. Right now that young man is getting his degree, Lord willing going to the next level, have opportunity.

Q. I know it's not about you, but what did it mean to you that Mr. Wilcox and the administration came to you and offered you this position?
COACH HAGGINS: I'm very honored. I'm very honored when they came to me. Being here for 24 years, I never thought I'd be in this situation. I never thought that.

But like I told you, my training, growing up around a great man like Mickey Andrews, a father figure, my mother raising me, I was able to adjust to it quickly.

Q. What did it mean to have the level of fan support that you had behind you today, chanting your name as you were coming off the field? After all your time here at Florida State with the fans behind you, what did that mean?
COACH HAGGINS: It meant the world to me, because people always say things about themselves. I want to show action about myself.

You talk about yourself, I'm this, I'm that. To me, I want to see actions. I live it. How much I care about these kids, I live it. I go to war for them. I live it instead of talk about it.

Q. Have you had a chance to talk to Coach Fisher? Did he have any words of encouragement?
COACH HAGGINS: He came in there. He let me know something. He said, "Odell, you're the man for it."

I said, "Coach, I got it. Thank you. I appreciate you and I love you." He knows it.

Q. What do you think this game means for the others on the staff here?
COACH HAGGINS: It means a lot, man. Some of the assistants, they could have just said, man, bump it, whatever. Head coach gone. Season is -- people saying our season is in shambles. But I'm going to say it again: We have life lessons.

Sometimes we have seasons like this, kids grow. Kids grow. Learning lessons. But we're Florida State. We're not going anywhere.

Q. What are some of the things you try to do to -- some coaches might be moving on to other jobs; they might have to move so quickly. (Indiscernible) keep it together for a potential bowl game, how do you try to manage having enough coaches to coach the players?
COACH HAGGINS: Well, the family atmosphere we have at Florida State, when you enter this university, you feel obligated to these kids.

You know, a lot of people said, have lip service because of recruiting, saying we've got a family. This is a true family right here.

In the last 30 years Florida State has won more games than anybody in the nation. We'll be back. That tells you about a family. That's a family. We have a solid foundation at Florida State University. It's not built on sand. I can say that.

Once a player, and coaching here, 24, 23 years, I've experienced it, I think experience it a lot better than somebody saying something.

Q. How do you think Coach Fisher will be remembered, and how should he be remembered?
COACH HAGGINS: I think Coach Fisher should be remembered as a leader. He gave me an opportunity to stay here at Florida State University. And I respect him for that. All the things that happened, the people saying turmoil, we're not in turmoil. He's a great coach, great mentor. He's going to do well there.

I wish him the best of luck. At Florida State, he had a great legacy to me.

Q. To keep that bowl streak alive, what did it mean to help make sure those guys keep that streak going, being a part of it as a player and coach?
COACH HAGGINS: I gotta say it means the world to me, but it's not about me. I know where you're going. It's about our kids. It's about this university. My faith, God, family, and these players. That's my faith. That's what it's about.

Yeah, I'm honored. I'm honored, Stan. Thank you. President Thrasher, thank you. It's about them kids and this university. That's the way I was raised as a young man.

Q. Can you describe the emotion in the room when Coach Fisher let everybody know that he was leaving?
COACH HAGGINS: Quite naturally, they're humans. They're humans. You know some of them was down. I can't tell you they wasn't.

But like I tell you, I said it once, said it at the beginning of this interview: We are a family. We stuck together as a staff and as an organization, and the kids, say, hey, Florida State is a family; we have a solid foundation. Yeah, it was tough. They're humans. 18- to 22-year-old kids.

Q. What was it like to see the Seminal rap on the big video board?
COACH HAGGINS: You know, let's set this straight. (Laughter). Do you all realize I have a twin brother? (Laughter). No, I'm just joking.

That was all in fun. And to end the game that way, the game, the kids getting to see that, that was great. I can be the joke. (Indiscernible) that's going to last me the rest of my lifetime. But, no, that was great for the kids to see it.

Q. Have you had a chance to respond to all the text messages I'm sure you've gotten?
COACH HAGGINS: No. I jumped into it when Stan named me the interim head coach, been trying to have a plan. It can wait.

Q. Do you want to be considered for this job? Plan to pursue it in any way?
COACH HAGGINS: Can I not answer that question? No comment.

Q. Have you put your Christmas tree up?
COACH HAGGINS: The Christmas tree up?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: We are ordering it, delivered tomorrow.

COACH HAGGINS: That's her fault. (Laughter). Let's go back to that question. Ask me that question again.

Q. Do you want to be considered for this job?
COACH HAGGINS: Well, I'm going to tell you like this, I want Mr. Wilcox, Mr. Thrasher, to hire the best person for it. Take me out of it. I'm not trying to get this job.

The reason why I say that, as a coach at Florida State, a former player at Florida State, I can impact lives. I hope the next coach keeps me. But to answer your question, I'm not complacent. God put you in certain situations for certain reasons. Somebody gotta do the ground work. That's good enough.

Q. Does that mean you won't be joining Jimbo at Texas A&M?
COACH HAGGINS: I don't want to answer that question, okay? No comment to that question.

Q. Are you guys able to reach out to recruits at this time, and what kind of communications were you guys having?
COACH HAGGINS: We're having pretty good communication. We'll be out on the road next week. Some kids have decommitted but, hey, the ones that want to come to Florida State, they're going to win.

We want people that want to be at Florida State, have that burning desire to be at Florida State, to do what's right, get an education and play football. I gotta say, the south end zone, we're unconquered.

Q. You mentioned Coach Andrews, your mentor. During this past 24 hours were you able to reach out to him? And if so, what advice did he give you?
COACH HAGGINS: Keep being Odell Haggins, be authentic. That's his main advice. From there we went on talking about fishing and hunting.

Q. I'm sure you have a long list of great memories of times here. Where does today rank in that list?
COACH HAGGINS: For the kids, it was great. It was great. It's up there with the rest of them. It's going to be a great memory when I can look back and say, yeah, the kids, they fought. They're resilient. They didn't quit. The staff, we all fought together.

Q. Did you enjoy being the guy that gets on the refs a little bit?

Q. Did you enjoy being the guy that gets on the refs a little bit?
COACH HAGGINS: Brother I do that when I coached the defensive line. (Laughter.)

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