Texas A&M Football: Firing Kevin Sumlin wasn’t the right move

(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Texas A&M football
(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

1. He was a winner

A friend of mine asked me did I know of a situation where a university had fired its coach when that individual never had a losing season. I did not have to think long because our own school has now done it twice. First it was Slocum and now it’s Sumlin.

Slocum was fired mainly because Aggieland grew tired of how he was running the program. Can you believe 15 years later we will be on our fourth coach? This tells me we have either a leadership problem or we have a problem with our level of expectations.

Sumlin’s first year followed a team that had to win the bowl game to finish with a winning record. That 2012 season was very special, but maybe we should have done a better job of understanding expectations.

High expectations proved disastrous

The 2013 had expectations through the roof.  I went to Vegas for March Madness and several of the sportsbooks had the Aggies as the second or third lowest odds to win the national championship. All that was fun in the moment but looking back now was the roster ready. Putting all that pressure on a young quarterback was also a mistake. One stat to keep in mind, the defense allowed 476 yards per game.

The following year, 2014, Manziel is gone and his heir apparent was Kenny Hill. The team started fast on the newly created SEC network but had a terrible October. The Aggies were outscored 142-51 in the three games. November came and the Aggies upset Auburn but faded with losses to Missouri and LSU.

In 2015, we all watched Kyle Allen and Christian Kirk beat the team (Arizona State) they’ve been watching for a long time. Just as the previous year, Alabama and Ole Miss proved this team was not ready. Kyler Murray started and got hurt against South Carolina which I believe ended his time in Aggieland. The Aggies would finish November 2-3.

The writing on the wall

Last year we saw both Allen and Murray transfer which meant we would see another starting quarterback. This time it was graduate transfer Trevor Knight. Some felt this team was already different with Knight’s leadership. They started fast and was even leading Alabama in the third quarter before the turnovers showed up. Last year ended terribly, wins after the Alabama game came against New Mexico State and UTSA.

Some wanted Sumlin gone but he still had won at least eight games every year. 2017 started very different from the previous four. The Aggies blew a big lead against UCLA and all the drama started when a current board of regent called the head coach out. I knew right then and I bet Sumlin knew that was it. The only way to save it would somehow get to 10 wins. That did not happen and with another end of year meltdown the life line was pulled.