Serving Franklin County, WA

Let the Firing begin

There were a couple of interesting events that took place following Saturday’s college football games. On Sunday, Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher was fired after a 51-10 shellacking of Mississippi State. And the Mississippi State coach also lost his job. Closer to home Boise State also let their coach go and he was a former BSU Bronco player

First of all let’s just say that coaches are fired a lot and this far into the season usually means that the donors, fans and alumni are not happy with the results when the game time expires.

For this column we are going to focus on Jimbo Fisher because he was hired by Texas A&M after a successful coaching career at Florida State as head coach and offensive coordinator before that. He had worked under Bobby Bowden at FSU before taking over after Bowden retired. Jimbo also was Nick Saban’s OC at Louisiana State.

Fisher had success that carried over from Bowden and would win the National Championship in 2013. He had three more double digit win seasons but in 2017 his Seminole team went 5-6. Because of his National Championship season Texas A&M hired him as their next head coach. But here is the kicker. He was signed to be the Aggies’ head coach for a whopping 10 year guaranteed contract for $75 million.

I remember thinking that 10 years guaranteed is a good deal for one side of the contract or let’s say one individual and his family. The athletic director that made this deal moved onto LSU. A couple of years ago when LSU fired coach Ed Orgeron the latest Texas A&M athletic director upped Fisher’s contract to 10 years and $95 million. Now two years later the results of Fisher’s success have been up and down and in the last two years the Aggies are just 11-11.

On Sunday I listened to the Aggie athletic director’s press conference and he said that when he’s on the freeway he likes to drive fast maybe 75-80 MPH. But every so often he gets behind a driver in the left hand lane that is going 55. He said that’s Texas A&M football now just kind of moving along but certainly not getting anywhere fast. Pretty sad commentary to say the least.

He told the press crew that he wasn’t there when Fisher was hired but he took the blame when talking about the contract extension. Yes, he was afraid that the Aggies were going to lose Fisher to LSU where the previous A&M athletic director that signed Fisher is now residing.

Now the Aggie AD admitted that the last contract was on him. Which leads us to the buyout of Fisher’s contract which is $75 million unless they negotiate for less but when it is guaranteed…well who knows and I’m sure you don’t care. I care because what was once a great game has now been over influenced by huge coaching contracts and Name, Image and Likeness revenue for student athletes. It’s going to be tough for small market teams to compete for top athletes if they only have a couple of car dealers in town to keep several top athletes to stay more than a year or two.

The $75 million dollar buyout is the largest amount ever. The second largest was a mere $25 million. Now I know that the money paid to Jimbo Fisher won’t come out of the education fund because there is too much Texas oil money that will pay to make this problem go away. But when the next big name coach comes to sign on the dotted line will they want ten years guaranteed or maybe it’s six.

The weird thing is that Texas A&M football is a big thing but it hasn’t been a marque team to win conference championships. They left the Big 12 to get away from the Texas Longhorns and next fall Texas will be in the same division of the SEC.

All I can say to Texas A&M, choose wisely and if after a few seasons the new guy wants to leave then he wasn’t dedicated enough to be an Aggie and don’t throw money at someone that doesn’t have the same goals as your alumni and fans do.

— Dale Anderson is a sports columnist from Ritzville. To contact him, email [email protected].


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