Is Saturday going to be Kevin Sumlin’s final game as Texas A&M’s coach?
According to the Houston Chronicle, Sumlin is “expected to be dismissed in the day or days” after the game against LSU on Saturday. When asked about his future at Tuesday’s press conference, Sumlin rhetorically asked why he wouldn’t be Texas A&M’s coach.
Per a report by Sports Illustrated, Texas A&M’s coaching staff first learned of the reported plans to fire Sumlin and his staff after practice Tuesday night.
A move to fire Sumlin isn’t a surprise if you believed what Texas A&M athletic director Scott Woodward said this spring. Woodward said Sumlin knew heading into the season that he had to win and expressed disappointment at A&M’s run of 8-5 seasons.
The Aggies have finished 8-5 the past three seasons and with a combination of a win and a loss against LSU and in a bowl game, Texas A&M will finish … you guessed it, 8-5 in 2017.
A&M started the season with a bang, jumping out to a massive lead over UCLA. But when starting quarterback Nick Starkel got injured in the second half, things unraveled from there. UCLA reeled off 35-straight points to pull off an amazing 45-44 win.
That loss led to a Texas A&M regent to publicly call for Sumlin’s firing in the hours after. In the days after the loss, Sumlin’s wife made public a letter with a racial slur that was sent to Sumlin’s home and addressed to the coach.
Sumlin came to Texas A&M in 2012 after four seasons at Houston. The Aggies were 11-2 in his first season and Johnny Manziel won the Heisman Trophy. The team hasn’t won double-digit games since, though you’ve got pretty high standards when 8-5 is disappointing.
The report also states that Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher is Texas A&M’s top target. That comes a week after a report that A&M was preparing to pursue the FSU coach as the Seminoles are in a down season. Fisher previously worked with Woodward at LSU.
To get Fisher from Florida State, Texas A&M would likely have to make him one of the top three highest paid coaches in the country. Fisher is currently the sixth-highest paid coach according to USA Today’s salary database. At $5.7 million this season, Fisher’s salary is more than any other SEC coach not named Nick Saban and second in the ACC to Clemson’s Dabo Swinney. And Swinney is coming off a national title appearance.
Entering Saturday’s game vs. LSU, Sumlin has compiled a career 51-25 record with the Aggies. If he’s fired by the school and A&M enters the head coaching market, it’s joining a crowded field. UCLA fired coach Jim Mora on Sunday and SEC schools Florida, Ole Miss and Tennessee are all currently led by interim coaches.
Per Yahoo Sports’ Pat Forde, Florida is still engaged in discussions with former Oregon and NFL coach Chip Kelly but also prepared to widen its search for a new coach.
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