Texas A&M Head Coach Candidates if Jimbo Fisher is Fired

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Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork speaks to the crowd at Reed Arena during a ceremony for Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair after an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, in College Station, Texas. Blair has announced that he will be retiring at the end of the 2021-2022 season. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)
(AP Photo/Sam Craft)
Andrew Doughty @DoughtyBetMGM Nov 22, 2022, 11:53 AM

“Success is part of his DNA,” then-Texas A&M athletics director Scott Woodward said of Jimbo Fisher when introducing the new head coach in December 2017.

Texas A&M paid $75 million for that DNA in the form of a fully guaranteed 10-year contract to steal Fisher away from Florida State and other potential suitors.

Five years later, failure encompasses the entirety of Fisher’s DNA as the Aggies plunge further into national irrelevance and current athletics director Ross Bjork might be on the verge of a coaching search. And despite a gigantic buyout, the fifth-year head coach might be on the college football hot seat.

Here are potential replacements for Fisher if he’s fired after this season:

Big Swings

If Texas A&M’s donors spend $86 million on Fisher’s buyout, they (presumably) won’t hit the bargain bin for a replacement, especially as they watch USC and LSU contend for the College Football Playoff with their big-swing coaches.

What would it take to land Dave Aranda? The third-year Baylor coach received a raise and extension in February that keeps him under contract through 2029 with a salary of $6 million.

Josh Heupel and Luke Fickell are in the same ballpark. Would they leave for $80 million guaranteed over 10 years? 

Would Sonny Dykes consider it? He’s an obvious geographical fit, but following his departure from an incompatible Cal job in 2016, he’s talked about a desire to find the right job. 

The Aggies could comfortably double Shane Beamer’s meager $2.75-million salary at South Carolina. His methodical rebuild, SEC experience, and some recruiting experience in Texas could be of interest.

More Power Five Head Coaches

Five years ago, Mike Elko took a highly paid job in College Station. Could he do it again?

Elko wouldn’t be the blockbuster hire signing a mega deal; he’s a first-year head coach with more FCS experience than Power Five experience. But he’s a highly respected former assistant – defensive coordinator from 2018-21 – leading an incredible rebuild at Duke.

Kalen DeBoer hasn’t coached anywhere near Texas but hadn’t coached anywhere near Washington before this season. He cleaned up Jimmy Lake’s mess in one year and is building a top-30 recruiting class in 2023 with coast-to-coast prospects.

It might be a year or two early on Joey McGuire, but he has deep recruiting ties across the state and was instrumental in two different successful rebuilds at Baylor before an impressive first year at Texas Tech.

Other Potential Candidates

If Texas A&M athletics director Ross Bjork whiffs on current head coaches or opts for a different approach after his predecessor Scott Woodward blew the Fisher hire and subsequent extension in 2021, the floodgates of under-the-radar options could open. 

For what it’s worth, Bjork promoted Matt Luke at Ole Miss after Hugh Freeze’s dismissal instead of making an external hire.

Maybe Bjork’s old friend Hugh Freeze gets a shot with a school-friendly deal that includes protection against another scandal. 

Would they roll the dice on a first-time head coach like Baylor offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes

Or a Midwesterner like Chris Klieman, Matt Campbell, or Lance Leipold?

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About the Author

Andrew Doughty

Read More @DoughtyBetMGM

Andrew Doughty is a writer for BetMGM with a focus on college football, NFL, college basketball, and NASCAR. A graduate of the University of Kansas, he previously wrote for Sports Illustrated and HERO Sports.

Andrew Doughty is a writer for BetMGM with a focus on college football, NFL, college basketball, and NASCAR. A graduate of the University of Kansas, he previously wrote for Sports Illustrated and HERO Sports.