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Update: A&M confirms Sumlin hiring

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UPDATED 6:01 p.m. ET: In a press release, Texas A&M has confirmed the hiring of Kevin Sumlin as its next head coach.

“It is with great pride that we announce Kevin Sumlin has accepted an offer to become the next head football coach at Texas A&M University,” A&M athletic director Bill Byrne said in a statement. “We began this search process a little over a week ago and spoke to many worthy and qualified candidates, but my decision, which was made in consultation with (Texas A&M) President (R. Bowen) Loftin, kept leading me to Kevin. We met this morning to finalize the offer. I believe he is the right person to lead our football program into the Southeastern Conference. First of all, Kevin is a terrific person. He is also one heck of a recruiter and he will put together a great staff.”

In his statement, Sumlin thanked the Aggies for the opportunity while also expressing how difficult it was to leave a university that gave him his first opportunity as a head coach.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to serve as the head football coach at Texas A&M University,” Sumlin said. “Having coached there before, I understand the culture and embrace the commitment by the 12th Man regarding Aggie football. Aggieland is a special place and I look forward to working with the young men in the football program and recruiting the type of players we need to be successful in the SEC.”

“With that being said. I can’t thank the University of Houston enough for giving me a chance to become a head football coach. It is tough to leave a group of players who have worked so hard and have done things the right way in taking Cougar football to greater heights.”

A press conference will be held Monday at noon ET to officially introduce Sumlin.

In this latest spinning of the coaching carousel, Sumlin becomes the fourth head coach to leave a school that’s in a non-automatic qualifying conference in the BcS for a job as the head coach at an AQ school.

UPDATED 5:08 p.m. ET: At a press conference addressing the coaching situation for his football program Saturday evening, Houston athletic director Mack Rhoades confirmed that Kevin Sumlin has accepted the head-coaching position at Texas A&M. He also introduced Tony Levine as the Cougars’ interim head coach.

Rhoades stated that he spoke to A&M athletic director Bill Byrne shortly before the start of the press conference, and that an announcement from the Aggies on Sumlin’s hiring is imminent.


Considered the front-runner even before Mike Sherman was officially fired earlier this month, Houston’s Kevin Sumlin is apparently set to be named the new head coach at Texas A&M according to reports streaming in from College Station and surrounding areas. reports that the school has made a decision on its new head football coach, with the most likely candidate being Sumlin, although A&M is not ready to announce the hiring.  The San Antonio Express-News takes it a step further, writing that “Sumlin is the Aggies’ choice for the gig” and “a press conference announcing Sumlin’s hire could be as early as today.”

The latter paper goes on to note that “A&M made a late run at Georgia coach Mark Richt, who mulled the offer Friday and turned it down Friday night.”  UGA athletic director Greg McGarity had subsequently declared there “was no truth whatsoever” to reports linking Richt to the A&M job.

On Friday, Sumlin refused to directly address the speculation connecting him to the Aggies’ opening.

Be that as it may, A&M appears to have finally pulled the trigger on the man who has been at or near the top of its coaching to-do list since Sherman’s Dec. 1 firing.  Sumlin has spent the past four years as the Cougars head coach, but will be charged with leading the Aggies as the school makes its way from the Big 12 into the SEC next year.

Sumlin, who had also reportedly drawn interest from Arizona State, Illinois and UCLA, has compiled a 35-17 mark with the Cougars, including a pair of 10-win seasons and three bowl berths.  UH got off to a 12-0 start this year, but a loss to Southern Miss in the Conference USA championship game cost the Cougars a shot at not only a perfect season but a BcS bowl berth as well.

In addition to Sumlin, it’s believed A&M interviewed Air Force’s Troy Calhoun, Southern Mississippi’s Larry Fedora — who subsequently took the job at North Carolina — and Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart earlier this week in New York City.

UPDATED 12:21 p.m. ET: Richt released a statement late Saturday morning denying any contact any other school.

“I’ve said many times Georgia is the place I want to be as long as Georgia will have me. That has never changed. And it’s gratifying to know Georgia wants me. I have not talked to any other school about a job nor do I have any interest in doing so. My interest is having a great recruiting year and start building toward next season.”

UPDATED 3:26 p.m. ET: Sumlin has reportedly informed his UH players that he’s leaving for another job.  A&M has no plans to make an announcement on a hiring Saturday; however, a press conference could take place as soon as Monday.

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22 Responses to “Update: A&M confirms Sumlin hiring”
  1. 19rolltide69 says: Dec 10, 2011 9:54 AM

    Glad to see him get the job if he wants it, but kind of glad also to see Smart not in the mix
    in order to maybe keep him at home with THE
    TIDE. We need Smart so Nick please just get
    Kirby another increase in pay to keep the Tide
    rolling. We need the coaching staff to stay the same at Alabama. Just do whatever it takes
    to keep Alabama tradition together.

  2. woebegong says: Dec 10, 2011 10:05 AM

    Wait, Wait, Mark Richt is supposed to be the new coach, according to some off the wall report circulating around the A&M campus. No my bad. It was supposed to be Charlie Weiss but they let him get to KSU didn’t they. No matter who coaches A&M, they are going to be in for a rough ride the first couple of years in the SEC. It will take them some time to recruit the athletes they need to be competitive. The A&M athletic dept. will have to be patient with the new coach. This isn’t Houston and in order to compete successfully in the SEC, a good coach has to end up averaging at least 9 wins a season to be competitive in the SEC. Anything less than that and the natives get restless. It might be easier if the SEC had not dominated the BCS since it’s inception but with 6 in a row, the pressure is on every team to improve. Texas A&M is just too big a school, to be satisfied being on the same level as Vanderbilt, or Kentucky when it comes to football. I wish the young coach good luck, because he is in a real competitive conference now. The old saying about, “ON any given Saturday”, proves out every year in the SEC.

  3. goodfieldnohit says: Dec 10, 2011 10:12 AM

    Sumlim is the same coach Sherman is. Same offense, same swiss cheese defense.

    And last year, Sumlin was 5-7 without Keenum as his QB.

    So, unless A&M already has a Keenum type QB, I guess we can expect to be 5-7.

    As an alum, I am really disappointed in this hire.

  4. woebegong says: Dec 10, 2011 10:19 AM

    I had hoped they would make a big splash an go for a better known coach with better credentials myself. They are coming into the SEC West. For a big time coach it would be a task, but for a smaller conference coach to make this jump, or for A&M to hire him, doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I would have least offered Kirby Smart, the assistant coach at Alabama a legitimate shot at it. I am sure their 4 million bucks could have been better spent.

  5. goodfieldnohit says: Dec 10, 2011 10:27 AM

    We hired a guy who has a 2-2 career record against Rice and Tulsa.

    I’m gonna let that sink in for a little while, as I stare at my season ticket renewal forms…

  6. thefiesty1 says: Dec 10, 2011 10:49 AM

    5-7??? Good luck with that. More like 3-9 or 4-8 for the next 3-5 years whoever the coach is. The Ags are not going to be happy for a long time getting beat up by the SEC. BIG mistake.

  7. burntorangehorn says: Dec 10, 2011 12:06 PM

    I’m surprised to see the aggie negativity about Sumlin. Sumlin brings offensive competence, school connection, and local credibility. He has four years (2008-2011) of HC experience, as well as four as an OC an/or co-OC. He has had lots of success in many stops, including the great job he did coaching WRs under Joe Tiller in the Drew Brees years, the OU offense for quite a while, and now Houston. He’s an up-and-comer at worst, and even if he doesn’t keep on that trajectory, he’s still probably a better hire than anyone else who would’ve considered the aggie job.

    I’d be surprised if aggie didn’t put out feelers with guys like Smart, but in the end, would it have made sense? First of all, he’s never been a HC at any level, although every HC out there has been a first-timer at one point or another, so that’s not a deal-breaker on its own. But hiring a guy with zero Texas connections or experience means even further distancing the school from Texas football, which would absolutely kill the aggies in a lot of ways, especially recruiting and donors.

  8. John Taylor says: Dec 10, 2011 12:14 PM

    Have to agree with burntorange. Really surprised by all the angst coming from College Station. Tremendous hire IMHO, especially if the Aggies give him the money to bring in a top-flight defensive coordinator.

    Randy Shannon, anyone?

  9. apmn says: Dec 10, 2011 12:42 PM

    All he has to do is convince the team to play to play four quarters of football. This year’s team had the talent to beat any SEC team in a two quarter game. I know, I know, they don’t give out W’s for first-half performances, but I just don’t feel so pessimistic about their chances in the SEC.

  10. cfbfaninbadnfltown says: Dec 10, 2011 1:05 PM

    I love it when coaches build a team up and then decide to leave, before the big bowl game Rich Rod & Brian Kelly come to mind right away.

    Mind if I were a Houston fan I’d feel a little bit worse about that Ticket City Bowl match up then I did before.

  11. drobe86 says: Dec 10, 2011 1:35 PM

    Great hire….. Don’t understand the negativity…. Only hope Houston brings in a coach as good as him…

  12. goodfieldnohit says: Dec 10, 2011 1:40 PM

    @ John Taylor –

    What part of 2-2 against Rice and Tulsa don’t you understand?

    What part of going 5-7 in a weak assed conference last year w/out Keenum don’t you understand?

    If this was the best A&M could do, then why bother to fire Sherman? At least he was about a million dollars a year cheaper than Sumlin will be…

  13. burntorangehorn says: Dec 10, 2011 1:43 PM

    goodfieldnohit says:Dec 10, 2011 1:40 PM

    @ John Taylor –

    What part of 2-2 against Rice and Tulsa don’t you understand?

    What part of going 5-7 in a weak assed conference last year w/out Keenum don’t you understand?

    If this was the best A&M could do, then why bother to fire Sherman? At least he was about a million dollars a year cheaper than Sumlin will be…
    2-2 wasn’t speculation on your part, but 5-7 without Keenum was with two freshmen at QB in an offense that’s predicated on experience, reads, and skill at QB. Petty.

  14. goodfieldnohit says: Dec 10, 2011 2:10 PM

    If he can’t beat Rice or Tulsa with Rudy or Forrest Gump at QB, then I don’t want him.

    That’s not speculation, that’s terrible job performance.

  15. goodfieldnohit says: Dec 10, 2011 2:11 PM

    Oh, and Rice hung half a hundred on him.

  16. John Taylor says: Dec 10, 2011 2:32 PM

    Might wanna check your facts, goodfieldnohit. Sumlin was 5-3 against Tulsa/Rice, with two of those losses coming after he lost his top two QBs last year.

    And why are you focused solely on his record vs. Rice/Tulsa — the latter’s a good football program, incidentally — instead of his resume’ as a whole? You would’ve been one of those LSU fans complaining about the hiring of the Oklahoma State head coach back in 2005 because he lost games to LaTech and Southern Miss, right?

    But, hey, fire the guy before he’s even been officially hired let alone coached a game. It’s your program.

  17. goodfieldnohit says: Dec 10, 2011 5:30 PM

    That makes me feel better. He lost THREE games against Rice and Tulsa.

    And his record as a whole?

    35-17 in Conference USA. How about that complete ass whipping against Southern Miss when everything was on the table for a BCS game?

    I have nothing personal against Sumlin. As a matter of fact, he’s been a coach at A&M already. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t want him back. He’s part of the good old boy network, and was rammed down the throats of the rank and file season ticket holders by his buddy Jim Wilson, who is a newly appointed member of the Texas A&M Board of Regents.

    Just about everyone I know would have preferred Kirby Smart, Charlie Strong, Lee Fedora, Chris Petersen, Gus Malzahn, anyone BUT Sumlin.

    At least we get to pay more now, for the same offense we had last year.

  18. jesse1834 says: Dec 10, 2011 5:35 PM

    Get ready A & M , you are about to be a bottom feeder of the SEC. You just hired a decent coach, that’s never won a Conference USA championship.

  19. goodfieldnohit says: Dec 10, 2011 6:24 PM

    you’re right, jesse.

    We can win national championships in every sport but football, because in those other sports (track, golf, women’s hoops), the athletic department does the hiring and the firing.

    In football, deals are made on golf courses and smoke filled back rooms by guys who donate considerable amounts of money to Rick Perry’s election machine. They are then in turn, appointed to the A&M Board of Regents by Governor Perry, and get to hand pick their jogging buddy to be the next football coach.

    The corruption at A&M sickens me. I want to burn my diploma.

  20. thefiesty1 says: Dec 10, 2011 6:37 PM

    Good luck to Sumlin. He will need it in their new SEC surroundings. I’ll be surprised if he or any coach last three years there with what’s facing them in the SEC.

    The AGGIES will be crying in their beer just like they have been in the Big 12.

  21. goodfieldnohit says: Dec 10, 2011 11:30 PM

    @ John Taylor –

    Seriously though, what has this coach done to prove he can coach at A&M? Ride the coat tails of a decent qb to a 12-1 season against bottom of the barrel conferences? With the 1 game worth anything against a crappy team and losing it?

    Yeah, that’s the guy I want.

  22. ancientcougar says: Dec 11, 2011 8:28 PM

    I don’t think Sumlin matches up to Briles. If I was Sumlin I wouldn’t buy any fancy homes or expensive cars. He should save his money. I sold John Jenkins his home when he was the Houston Coach. He knew what a short timer needed to do with his money.

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