Defensive coordinator Andrews to retire

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Veteran Florida State defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews is hanging up his whistle after 47 years coaching, including 26 years with the Seminoles.

The architect of some of the nation's best defenses that helped Florida State win a pair of national titles in the 1990s, Andrews announced his decision Tuesday in a handwritten statement.

"Because of a lot of speculation and questioning from friends, family and media, we decided to go ahead and do it now," Andrews said. "It's time to be about us, my family."

A football star at Alabama under the coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, Andrews developed 18 first-round NFL draft picks during 26 seasons at Florida State beginning with cornerback Deion Sanders in 1989.

"Not a single day goes by when I am coaching, mentoring or teaching somebody that I don't use things Coach Andrews taught me," Sanders said Tuesday.

Since 1985, NFL teams have picked 73 defensive players developed by Andrews at Florida State. That list includes Peter Boulware, Derrick Brooks, Terrell Buckley, LeRoy Butler, Sam Cowart and Marvin Jones, who like Sanders all went on to star in the NFL.

But this year there were no players of the caliber Andrews had coached for so many years and a young Seminoles defense has struggled all season.

Andrews will direct the defense through the remainder of this season and remain on the payroll until Feb. 10, 2010, the anniversary date of his hiring by coach Bobby Bowden, who like Andrews is an Alabama native.

"He's a guy that has never slowed down," said Bowden, who had hoped he could persaude Andrews to stay for one more season. "He's just as enthusiastic now as he was when he came here."

Andrews, 68, and his wife, Diane, will remain in Tallahassee where they are helping raise three grandchildren after the sudden, unexpected death of their son Ronnie two years ago.