Now that the regular season has come to an end, Texas A&M is expected to move on from head coach Kevin Sumlin.
It’s been a tough week for the A&M coaching staff and players that culminated with Aggies dropping their regular-season finale 45-21 at LSU on Saturday night to finish the regular season with a 7-5 record. On Wednesday, a report from the Houston Chronicle emerged saying Sumlin was “expected to be dismissed in the day or days” following the LSU game, no matter the outcome.
After the loss, Sumlin was asked how the report affected the team. In a clear shot at A&M athletic director Scott Woodward, Sumlin remarked that there have been distractions going back to the spring.
“Somebody asked me before the game, I think [SEC Network reporter] Cole [Cubelic] asked me, he said with everything that’s gone on this week are you guys distracted? I said, ‘This week? It’s been going on since spring,’” Sumlin said. “So [the players] have handled that the whole time.”
Sumlin led the Aggies to 8-5 records the previous three seasons. On the “Paul Finebaum Show” in May, Woodward said the 2016 season was “extremely disappointing” and that Sumlin “knows he has to win and win this year.”
— Colin Deaver (@KAGS_Colin) May 30, 2017
As of Saturday night, Sumlin is unaware of any plans for his future.
“I don’t know anything,” he said. “It’s just business as usual for me. I don’t have anything scheduled — that probably could change here in the next I don’t know, couple minutes or whatever. But it’s, as of right now, tomorrow the contact period starts. We had a meeting Wednesday before Thanksgiving, an organizational recruiting meeting and home visits are set.”
It’s been an up-and-down year for the Aggies. A&M started out the season by blowing a 44-10 lead at UCLA in the opener in a dramatic 45-44 loss. After the loss, an A&M regent publicly called for Sumlin to be fired. A few days later, a letter with a racial slur was sent to Sumlin’s home.
The Aggies won four in a row after the UCLA loss, but ended up going 4-4 in SEC play.
Now, it would be a shock if Sumlin was not fired. With Sumlin essentially out of the picture, A&M is expected to go after some big names, including Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher. A&M is willing to pay big, writes our Pete Thamel:
The one thing we know is that A&M isn’t afraid to pay, but there aren’t a bevy of coaches on the board dying to go to College Station. Look for Fisher to break the bank if Woodward can land him.
For Sumlin, don’t be surprised if he lands on his feet at another Power Five job. Thamel identified Arizona State as a potential fit if ASU moves on from Todd Graham.
This just makes the most sense. There’d have to be a clear upgrade available, and Sumlin is certainly that. He also has a reputation for being a much better people person than Todd Graham, who has a career-long reputation of awkward exits and aggrieved administrators. This exit would cost ASU nearly $12 million.
– – – – – – –