The Big Mac Blog

Aggies’ problems start with the board

Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin is in for a long, and likely final, season in College Station after his team blew a 34-point third-quarter lead at UCLA on Sunday night and lost, 45-44.
Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin is in for a long, and likely final, season in College Station after his team blew a 34-point third-quarter lead at UCLA on Sunday night and lost, 45-44. AP

The good people of College Station and of Texas A&M are embarrassed and livid, and all of their fury is wrongly pointed at Kevin Sumlin. The Swag Copter deserves his share of the blame, but in your fury, Aggies, never forget to take aim at the boneheads who hired him.

The people who were mad at Texas and did an end-around on former athletic director Bill Byrne and shoved through the move from the Big 12 to the SEC. The people who fell for Sumlin’s success at the University of Houston and bought the hot name, even if he was not the right fit.

The people who hired bright man but a poor Aggie-fit, Eric Hyman, to be its athletic director. The people who approved Sumlin’s six-year, $30 million extension in December of 2013, which is now fully guaranteed.

The Texas A&M Board of Regents, this heaping pile of Reveille mess is on your heads, too. In the single most embarrassing weekend in the history of college football in this state, the Aggies are The GOAT.

In the immediate aftermath of A&M’s historic 45-44 loss at UCLA on Sunday night at the Rose Bowl, A&M board member Tony Buzbee authored a Facebook rant that will most assuredly end Sumlin’s tenure in College Station.

Buzbee wrote: “I'm sure I may be criticized for this post but I honestly don't care. I've been on the Board of Regents for the A&M System for almost seven years. During that time, I've not once commented on Kevin Sumlin and his performance during his tenure at our school. I never said a word when he and his agent manipulated a much bigger and longer contract. I said nothing about his arrogance and his mishandling of multiple player controversies. I said nothing when we had multiple awesome recruiting classes, only to see key players leave our school or underperform.

“But tonight I am very disappointed and I have to say this. Kevin Sumlin was out-coached tonight, which isn't new. He recruits well, but can't coach the big games, or the close games. Our players were better tonight. Our players were more talented tonight. But our coaches were dominated on national TV, yet again. I'm only one vote on the Board of Regents but when the time comes my vote will be that Kevin Sumlin needs to GO. In my view he should go now. We owe it to our school and our players. We can do better.”

Tony Buzbee is a successful lawyer based in Houston. This is not a dumb man, but what he did was childishly stupid.

This rant is appropriate for a chat-room, message board written by a drunk fan. This is pathetic to come from a member of a board of regents whose responsibility it is to represent the school in a proud, and distinct, manner. To make difficult decisions.

This is typical of the A&M BOR, which when it comes to athletics acts like a group of bored soccer-moms who are continually mad at the coach for losing games. Who are convinced they know more than their athletic director(s), so they undercut them whenever necessary.

Rather than delete the message, Buzbee doubled down on his position in an interview with the Houston Chronicle.

Before Sunday, Sumlin was all but told by his new athletic director Scott Woodward if he did not win this season he would be fired. That message would never be delivered unless Woodward had the verbal support of his bosses to send such a warning.

Now Sumlin has to try to engage a group of college kids to be all-in when all they have to do is check Twitter to know their coach is gone. A group of college kids who have to rebound from one of the most humiliating losses in NCAA history.

Then, when Sumlin is done with that, he has to keep tabs on a coaching staff that knows the score, and will likely start spending more time on lining up their next job than they will planning for their next game.

The good people of College Stations, and every single Aggie, deserve better than this. Better than this board.

Sumlin is going to be fired, but the next guy is not going to do much better unless the members of the board can act like the adults rather than drunk fans who can’t control themselves on message boards.

Mac Engel: @macengelprof