There’s not even an opening (yet) at Texas A&M, but a big coaching fish continues to surface as a potential replacement for Kevin Sumlin.
Earlier this month, Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle was the first to mention Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher as one who could succeed Sumlin if the program goes in another direction, saying during an appearance on the Paul Finebaum Show that “Fisher has been mentioned around [College Station] for some time now.” Tuesday, Dan Wolken of USA Today added additional fuel to the Fisher-A&M speculation. From Wolken’s report:
A&M is expected to inquire about the interest level of… Fisher once its separation from current coach Kevin Sumlin is official at the end of the season, according to two people familiar with the situation.
Wolken also noted a “longstanding relationship” between Fisher and current A&M athletic director Scott Woodward. During Fisher’s time on Nick Saban’s LSU coaching staff, Woodward served the university chancellor’s representative to the athletic department.
The rumors connecting Fisher to the Aggies come amidst what is easily the head coach’s worst season in Tallahassee. After going 78-17 his first seven seasons, including one national title and three ACC championships, the Seminoles are 3-6 in 2017. In order to avoid missing out on a bowl for the first time since 1981, FSU needs wins in each of its last three games.
While the same can’t be said for some members of his coaching staff, there’s been relatively little fire-him heat on Fisher specifically during this lost season, although that could change if no moves are made on assistants/coordinators in the offseason. Should Fisher, who had been connected to the LSU job the last couple of years and is said to have built an SEC program that plays in the ACC, opt to leave the Seminoles for the Aggies, or anyone else for that matter, he would reportedly owe the university, at most, in the neighborhood of $7 million.
As for Sumlin? He came into the 2017 season with a very public win-or-else mandate from his boss. Following a historic season-opening collapse against UCLA, one regent very publicly called for the coach’s immediate ouster. While such rhetoric has somewhat abated, the fact that the 6-4 Aggies are looking at potentially a fourth straight 8-5 season in Year 6 under Sumlin doesn’t bode well for the coach’s future.
In fact, the biggest news to come out of Wolken’s report may not even be A&M’s interest in Fisher. Instead, it very well could be that the college football insider wrote as if the decision has already been made to can the coach. “[O]nce its separation from current coach Kevin Sumlin is official at the end of the season,” Wolken wrote.
Regardless, it appears the 2017-18 coaching carousel is in full swing and won’t slow down for the next 6-8 weeks. Buckle up. And grab your popcorn.