Jimbo Fisher will succeed Bobby Bowden as Florida State's next football coach . . . someday.

President T.K. Wetherell designated the Seminoles' offensive coordinator as "head coach-in-waiting," but skipped out of a somewhat unusual news conference yesterday without answering questions about the contracts that are not yet finalized.

Bowden, major college football's winningest coach, agreed to return for a 33rd season with options to stay longer.

Bowden, Fisher and interim athletic director Bill Proctor all skirted questions about what Proctor described as "agreement(s) in principle" that give "stability to our program."

Bowden, 78, said he supported the plan brought to him last week by the president and Proctor, who have both known the coach since the early 1960s.

"I think it's a great plan," Bowden said. "Hey, you get 78 years of age, it's hard to say how you're going out, but we've got a plan. It kind of all started with my contract."

Bowden, whose present 5-year deal with the school expires in 3 weeks, made just over $2 million in 2006, state records show.

"My position hasn't changed. As long as I'm healthy," he said, "and if I can win enough games."


* Clifton Hunter Epps, 18, was charged with assault and battery with intent to kill following the stabbing of South Carolina defensive lineman Jordin Lindsey last weekend. Epps turned himself into authorities and confessed to the assault that took place early Saturday, police said.

Lindsey suffered a 4-inch laceration to the left side of his neck and spent a night in the hospital before he was released, police said. Lindsey and Epps were arguing when Epps used a broken bottle to cut the victim, police said.

* Kermit Buggs, a member of the Penn State staff since 2003, has been named the Nittany Lions' safeties coach. He replaces Brian Norwood, who was named defensive coordinator at Baylor. Buggs has begun his duties as Penn State prepares to meet Texas A&M in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29 in San Antonio.

* Former UCLA coach Karl Dorrell was spotted on Duke's campus yesterday, while the Blue Devils' search for a coach entered its third week.

Dorrell, who was fired last week after the Bruins finished 6-6, was seen in a car near Cameron Indoor Stadium. Meanwhile, Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson met with Duke officials to discuss the coaching vacancy. Ted Roof was fired as coach on Nov. 26. *