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‘Pressure mounting’ on Kevin Sumlin entering second year at Arizona, per CBS

kevin-sumlin-arizona-wildcats-hot-seat-coaching-job-security-2019-college-football-cbs Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images

Kevin Sumlin is a week away from beginning just his second preseason training camp with the Arizona Wildcats, but his seat is already starting to get warm, according to CBS.

In his evaluation of the job security of all 130 FBS coaches, writer Dennis Dodd rated Sumlin’s as a 3 on a scale of 0 to 5, with 5 being the worst. That means “pressure is mounting” on him and the other 11 coaches in that category.

Only nine FBS coaches were rated worse, with six in the ‘start improving’ category including USC’s Clay Helton, while three coaches fell in the ‘win or be fired’ category. Dodd noted that 12 of the 18 coaches rated 4 or 5 in the previous four years ended up losing their jobs during or after that next season.

Arizona is coming off a 5-7 season in 2018, Sumlin’s first after replacing Rich Rodriguez. That fell far below preseason expectations, partly because of an injury to quarterback Khalil Tate as well as how Tate was used in a new offensive system.

Expectations for 2019 are much more tempered, with SB Nation’s S&P+ projecting a 6-6 record. If Arizona fails to make a bowl, though, it is fair to say the heat will start to get turned up on Sumlin. That’s especially true when you consider the 5-year, $14.5 million contract he signed with Arizona in Jan. 2018.

Sumlin is slated to earn $2 million for this season, same as last year, but in 2020 that salary jumps to $3.5 million and remains at that level through 2022. An extra $1.5 million is a lot to pay for a coach that hasn’t shown any real results.

But any discussion about possibly firing Sumlin prior to the end of his contract—for, say, a 2-10 season this fall—must include buyout info. And that’s where things could get sticky, as Sumlin would receive a $10 million buyout if he’s fired without cause in the first two years of his deal as opposed to $7.5 million in 2020 and $5 million in 2021.

When exactly the second year ends and third year begins depends on how things are worded in the contract, but that’s getting ahead of ourselves.