Texas A&M fired head football coach Kevin Sumlin Sunday afternoon.
The Aggies concluded their regular season with a 45-21 loss to LSU Saturday night in Baton Rouge, La.
Assistant coach Jeff Banks will serve as interim head coach, according to the Houston Chronicle. Multiple media outlets are reporting that the Aggies are set to hire Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher. Fisher won a national championship in 2013. The Seminoles are 5-6 this season and Fisher could finish with his first losing record in eight seasons at FSU.
Sumlin coached A&M for six seasons, including going 11-2 in his first season in 2012. But he hasn’t won more than nine games since. He went 8-5 in the previous three seasons before going 7-5 in 2017.
The Aggies are bowl eligible but Sumlin, 53, won’t be their coach. Reports are already surfacing that Sumlin is a top candidate for the head coaching job at Arizona State. ASU coach Todd Graham was fired Sunday morning but will coach the team through its bowl game next month, according to AZCentral.com. Like Sumlin, Graham will be handsomely compensated. He’s owed a buyout of over $12 million.
“Our expectations at A&M are very high,” A&M athletic director Scott Woodward said in a release. “We believe that we should compete for SEC championships on an annual basis and, at times, national championships. I believe that we need a new coach to take us there.”
Although Sumlin is 51-26 overall during his Aggies’ tenure, he struggled to make headway in the Southeastern Conference West division. Since going 6-2 in his first season, he is 19-21 in the SEC and never finished higher than fourth in the division.
Before the announcement, Sumlin discussed his job status during Saturday’s postgame press conference.
“I always think I should be retained. I wouldn’t do this job if I I didn’t think I’d be retained,” Sumlin said in response to someone asking him if he thinks he should remain in the job. “You’re able to live with yourself if you leave something better than when you got there. You go to sleep at night knowing that things are in a better place than when I got here six years ago.”
Sumlin, however, acknowledged that since his first season with the Aggies, winning has been more difficult.
“Our trend is we flattened out from a wins standpoint,” he said.
According to multiple reports, A&M owes Sumlin a $10.4 million buyout due within 60 days after he’s fired. Sumlin gets to keep the money even if he takes a job somewhere else.
“My job is to hire the person who is the right fit to lead our football program,” Woodward said in the release. “Obviously, our search will be quiet so the next time you’ll hear from me is when I’m introducing the new head football coach.”