The team announced the move Thursday night within an hour of a report by SI.com that they were negotiating Fisher’s departure. The team said in a release that “Fisher will no longer be the head coach of the team.”
The move comes only three weeks after owner Bud Adams announced Fisher would stay on for the final year of his current contract in a move that would have left Fisher coaching for his future.
“It became evident that consensus was increasingly hard to find and reality wasn’t matching the vision we discussed,” Adams said in the statment. “It is unfortunate that this decision is coming at this juncture, but we believe that we have reached the point where change is in the best interest of both parties.”
The move caught most of the NFL by surprise.
Though Fisher had been derided locally as “Coach .500″ or “Coacho Ocho,” he seemingly had just survived a battle with quarterback Vince Young. Adams decided to either release Young or trade him on Jan. 5. The owner announced two days later that he would be keeping Fisher, leaving the coach to head into the 2011 season needing a playoff berth.
Fisher’s resume includes an overall record of 147-126 with the Titans/Oilers since being promoted from defensive coordinator to head coach during the 1995 season. His 147 wins rank third among active coaches. His tenure included more NFL games coached for one franchise than all but six Hall of Famers: George Halas, Tom Landry, Don Shula, Chuck Noll, Curly Lambeau and Bud Grant.
“It has been a tremendous experience,” Fisher said in a statement. “We all did our very best and I think I can look back with fond memories and be very proud of what we accomplished. I want to wish the organization, the current players and the fans nothing but the best in the future.”
During his tenure, the Titans made six playoff appearances, won four division titles, and advanced to one Super Bowl. However, the team hasn’t won a playoff game since 2003, and Fisher’s postseason record stands at 5-6.
Fisher and Adams will hold a joint news conference Friday afternoon to discuss the first coaching change since the franchise relocated to Tennessee from Houston in 1997.