Most assumed that, entering the 2017 season, Kevin Sumlin would be on one of the hottest coaching seats in the country. Tuesday, the Texas A&M head coach’s boss very publicly took away any doubt.
As the SEC kicked off its spring meetings in Florida Tuesday, A&M athletic director Scott Woodward made an appearance on the Paul Finebaum Show to address the state of Aggies football. And, to Woodward’s credit, he didn’t mince many if any words when it came to Sumlin heading into the upcoming season.
“Coach knows he has to win and he has to win this year,” Woodward said, without a hint of gray area involved. “We have to do better than we’ve done in the past.”
— Colin Deaver (@KAGS_Colin) May 30, 2017
During his first five seasons in College Station, Sumlin has guided the Aggies to a 44-21 record overall and a 21-19 mark in SEC play. That’s a bit deceptive, however, as, in the first season in the conference, A&M went 11-2 and finished second in the West behind Johnny Manziel‘s Heisman-winning 2012 season. Since then, the Aggies have been below .500 in league play and haven’t finished higher than fourth in the division.
More damning and/or indicting, Sumlin’s teams have gone a collective 21-1 to start the first half or so of the last four seasons only to stumble to a combined 12-16 finish those years.
So, what would it take for Sumlin to seemingly save his Power Five job? To paraphrase former United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart: Woodward will know it when he sees it.
“It doesn’t come up to objective data-reading of wins and losses. That’s not gonna be the way I look at it,” Woodward said. “It’s gonna be a lot of subjectivity brought into it. How we win, what we do, how we do it, for me to make a decision [on Sumlin’s future].”
While Woodward went on to state that he has “all the confidence that coach is gonna get it done and get it done in a very convincing way,” there’s little doubt that Woodward’s very public message is equally convincing for Sumlin — win, or else.