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Texas A&M to spend more than $75 million to fire football coach Jimbo Fisher

By Kate McGee, The Texas Tribune

Texas A&M to spend more than $75 million to fire football coach Jimbo Fisher” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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Texas A&M University fired head football coach Jimbo Fisher on Sunday.

The university will owe Fisher more than $75 million to buy out his contract, a record amount of money owed to a football coach.

According to a source familiar with discussions, no public money will be used to pay out the massive contract. A&M keeps its athletics funds and institutional funds separate. When major college football programs buy out their football coaches, they often use donor money. The Texas A&M University System directed questions to the university athletics department, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A press conference to discuss the decision is scheduled for 5 p.m. Sunday.

“After very careful analysis of all the components related to Texas A&M football, I recommended to President Welsh and then Chancellor Sharp that a change in the leadership of the program was necessary in order for Aggie football to reach our full potential and they accepted my decision,” said Athletic Director Ross Bjork in a statement. “We appreciate Coach Fisher’s time here at Texas A&M and we wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

The A&M System Board of Regents, which hires and fires athletic coaches, discussed firing the football coach during the executive session portion of their board meeting last week, sources confirm. TexAgs, an A&M fan site, first reported the decision.

“The decision to part ways with Coach Fisher is the result of a thorough evaluation of the football program’s performance, and what’s in the best interest of the overall program and Texas A&M University,” interim President Mark Welsh III said in a statement Sunday, adding that Bjork will start a national search for Fisher’s replacement. “I am confident he will find a great coach and leader with a commitment to the values that drive Texas A&M.”

Welsh and Bjork met with Fisher earlier Sunday to share the news. The team also learned the news in a meeting Sunday morning.

University administrators stunned the college football world when they announced the 10-year, $75M contract in 2017 that lured Fisher away from Florida State University. The deal was staggering for both its duration and its guaranteed annual pay.

In 2021, the board extended the contract by four years after reports that Fisher might leave A&M for Louisiana State University. Under that extension, Fisher made $9 million annually.

In contrast, Steve Sarkisian, the head football coach at the University of Texas at Austin, is guaranteed to make at least $34.2 million throughout his six-year contract.

At the time, university leaders said Fisher, who won a national championship in Florida, was worth the money and the university wanted to win championships. But Fisher has been unable to deliver. While Fisher had a strong year in 2020, Fisher’s overall record is 45-25. Last year, the Aggies ended the season with a 5-7 record. The team is in the midst of another lackluster season, with a 6-4 record so far.

Texas A&M trounced Mississippi State in a 51-10 victory Saturday.

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Disclosure: Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University System and University of Texas at Austin have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

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