The Arizona Wildcats need a new head football coach after firing Rich Rodriguez on Tuesday, and it appears the school will consider ex-Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, according to Michael Bratton of Saturday Down South.
Hearing Arizona will consider former Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin to replace Rich Rodriguez. Sumlin's A&M buyout would not be mitigated by landing another job, he may be open to lesser salary to build up his staff at Arizona— SEC Mike (@MichaelWBratton) January 3, 2018
Sumlin was fired by the Aggies on Nov. 26 after they finished the season 7-5. The 53-year-old posted a 51-26 record in College Station before being dismissed.
Sumlin won at least seven games in each of his six seasons at A&M, including an 11-2 campaign in 2012 when he and Johnny Manziel led A&M to the Cotton Bowl. Sumlin was SEC Coach of the Year that season.
Before taking over as the Aggies’ head coach in 2012, Sumlin was Houston’s head coach from 2008-2011 where he had a 35-17 record, and led the Cougars to a 12-1 season in 2011 before leaving for A&M.
SB Nation’s Alex Kirshner wrote why Sumlin was fired by A&M:
He didn’t make progress for the last five years.
Sumlin’s first season, 2012, was brilliant. With Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel at quarterback, the Aggies went 11-2, beat No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa, won the Cotton Bowl, and finished No. 5 in the AP Poll. Sumlin had taken over a 7-6 team from Mike Sherman and, with Manziel’s help, made it both fun and really good.
Then Sumlin went from great to good, and he never got back to great. A&M lost at least four games in every subsequent year of his tenure and faded from SEC West contention every year.
Sumlin recruited well and consistently stocked his rosters with talent, including a No. 1 NFL pick in defensive end Myles Garrett. He had top-15 talent in each of the last three seasons but didn’t produce results anywhere near that good.
Many A&M fans have been extremely over Sumlin for a while.
Sumlin’s lack of success in November games was also a point of contention.
Sumlin received a $10.2 million buyout when fired (which had to be paid in its entirety within 60 days of his termination), and he receives it in its entirety whether or not he takes on another coaching job, so becoming the head coach at Arizona would not hinder his earning potential.
But why does Sumlin make sense for Arizona?
- He has thrived in a Power-Five conference before.
- He has recruited Arizona well, landing former five-star recruits Kyle Allen and Christian Kirk, and has plenty of experience recruiting in Texas and the West Coast, two of UA’s most prominent recruiting regions.
- Sumlin has had success with mobile quarterbacks like Khalil Tate before — he coached Johnny Football, after all.
- Marcel Yates was Sumlin’s defensive coordinator at Texas A&M, which means Arizona might be able to keep its defensive staff intact — a staff that has been pretty good and the players like. Sumlin also has familiarity with former Arizona quarterback and current UA staffer B.J. Denker, so there’s more continuity.