Texas A&M fired Kevin Sumlin and will pay him north of $10 million (and quickly) in order to have a clean shot at a SEC title and a national championship. And, to its credit, it got its guy in now-former Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher.
It's an expensive and bold move, not just in the amount of money A&M is paying Sumlin not to coach there, but in the amount of money it will pay Fisher (more on that later). However, if Fisher brings a national championship to College Station, it's going to be extremely hard to argue the money wasn't worth it. Fisher is one of four active college football head coaches to have won it all and one of the few coaches who could the Aggies from an underachiever to an actual football giant.
With lofty dreams comes extravagant and borderline ridiculous introductions. Here are all the ways Fisher's introduction to Aggieland was over the top.
1. It started with the red carpet: Or was it a maroon carpet? Anyway, it's common for coaches to be flown in to their new job via private jet. But how many of them literally roll out a red (maroon) carpet for their new coach with a marching band playing in the background? In the same sport that trumpets the old-timey narrative of higher education and student-athletes, A&M greeted Fisher as though he were a foreign diplomat.
Jimbo Fisher’s trumpeted arrival to College Station: pic.twitter.com/GUmttygt2R— Brent Zwerneman (@BrentZwerneman) December 3, 2017
2. The contract itself: If you haven't heard already, Texas A&M is paying Fisher borderline offensive amounts of money: $75 million -- guaranteed -- over 10 years. That's the most lucrative contract for a college football coach in history. So in theory, Fisher could lose every game at A&M and he would still be paid $20,548 every day for the next decade. A&M better hope 1) that doesn't happen and 2) everyone doesn't suddenly buy up electric cars since no state funds are being used.
Keep in mind, too, that Fisher's contract at FSU dictated that he be paid nearly $40 million in buyout money if he were to be fired, essentially guaranteeing him the same type of job security he'll receive at A&M. Folks, that's agent Jimmy Sexton's magic for you.
3. Fisher calling the move a "no-brainer": If there were Florida State fans angry at Fisher for leaving, they'll probably be more incensed. If anyone wasn't mad, they might be now. At his introductory press conference, Fisher called the decision to leave for A&M a "no-brainer."
"I think it was a no-brainer, in a crazy way," Fisher said. "And again, my time at Florida State, I loved it. It was phenomenal. It was a tremendous place."
Fisher may have been impressed with the glitz and the glam A&M offers along with the vision of the program, but Florida State is still one of the top jobs in college football. And from the sounds of it, there were too many moving parts on the back end for it to be something as easy as a "no-brainer." That comment probably won't go over too well in Tallahassee. No one likes being dumped, nor does anyone like being told that dumping them was a no-brainer.
4. Shots fired at Florida State? There has been frustration mounting between Fisher and FSU for a while. That can happen when you've been at the same place as a head coach for nearly a decade. Couple in Fisher's annual flirtation with other jobs and a steady decline in the program over the past three years, and a clean start for both sides was the right call. So there's no need for jabs.
"You can have Vince Lombardi, Tom Landry, Chuck Noll — you can have the greatest coaches in the world," Fisher said. "But if your administration doesn't see things the way you see things and allow you to do things that way, nothing can be achieved."
Perhaps Fisher meant this in more general terms, but since he has a track record of complaining about FSU's facilities, it's hard not to see it as a shot across the nose at his former employer. But as Andrea Adelson of ESPN points out, it's not like FSU sat around doing nothing on that front ...
The administration helped Jimbo get:— Andrea Adelson (@aadelsonESPN) December 4, 2017
Indoor practice facility
Updated + upgraded stadium
Remodeled coaches offices, locker room, meeting space
Current plans for a standalone football facility
Also was 6th highest paid coach in the country
But sure .. https://t.co/GFJgd3KjQv
Facilities will always be an ongoing arms race. What is top of the line (or just plain over the top) now might be dated in as little as a few years. It's always a challenge to drum up the money to stay on top of the game. Yeah, it's true Clemson has the leg up in that race at the moment, but that doesn't mean Florida State did nothing. Fisher, who won a national championship and coached a Heisman winner at his former stop, got his huge contract and a clean slate. Move on.