|Pay raises and contract extensions are on the way for Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin and his staff. (US Presswire)|
After a wildly successful first season, Kevin Sumlin and his staff will be rewarded with contract extensions to ensure the current success of the Texas A&M football program continues.
On Thursday, the Texas A&M Board of Regents authorized university president R. Bowen Loftin to negotiate raises and extensions for Sumlin and the rest of the coaching staff. It came two weeks after the plans were announced, but a final approval from the board was needed before Loftin could begin negotiations.
Loftin explained there is "no question" an issue in the negotiations will be how Sumlin's compensation package stacks up against those of other SEC coaches. Under his current contract, Sumlin is compensated $2 million annually with bonuses for postseason appearances and accolades. With the recent hires and raises, the Aggies head coach ranks near the bottom of the SEC.
"I think all of us believe a lot of things came together to make this season what it was," Loftin said. "We don't want to do anything that would change the trajectory of the program. We hope this will be the beginning of a very successful, sustained football program here at A&M."
Sumlin calmly spent a good portion of his time at SEC Media Days answering questions regarding the Aggies' transition from the Big 12. Many doubted whether the Texas A&M and Missouri could compete immediately in the conference that holds the last seven BCS titles.
After a memorable 11-2 season that included an upset of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, a second-place finish in the SEC West and the first Heisman Trophy-winning freshman, no one is doubting whether Texas A&M can clear the bar in the SEC.
"Coach Sumlin and the Aggie football coaching staff accomplished a great deal in our first year in the Southeastern Conference," athletic director Eric Hyman said in an official release. "They are laying the foundation for continued success in the most challenging conference in the country. There is a lot of positive momentum across the campus, and this will help us continue in that forward direction.
"Coach Sumlin and the entire football program can see the commitment made by the university and the 12 Man Foundation in facilities such as the Lohman Lobby, the R.C Slocum Nutrition Center and the Davis Performance Center. It is imperative to continue the positive momentum."
The Aggies' strong finish to the season -- including a 41-13 drubbing of Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl that featured a record-setting 516 total yards from Johnny Manziel -- led to a No. 5 ranking in the final polls. It was the highest finish for a Texas A&M team since Paul "Bear" Bryant led the Aggies to a Southwest Conference title in 1956.
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