Mike Elko was one of the best hires of the offseason in 2018, but did you know Texas A&M football’s defensive coordinator didn’t actually sign a contract?
One of the absolute, indisputably best hires of the 2018 offseason was when Jimbo Fisher, recently hired himself, selected his defensive coordinator. Although he had a top target in LSU’s Dave Aranda, who subsequently was made the highest paid coordinator in the nation after Fisher’s interest, Fisher’s plan B turned out to be a pretty excellent move for Texas A&M football.
He got Mike Elko to leave Notre Dame and join the Aggies. Elko has been successful in every previous stop as a defensive coordinator, orchestrating a Top 50 defense in his final two years at Bowling Green, all three years at Wake Forest, for Notre Dame in one year and with Texas A&M in year one.
The Ags went from No. 78 in total defense to No. 32 from 2017 to 2018 thanks to Elko’s commitment to stopping the run. The Aggies went from No. 70 to No. 3 in rushing yards allowed thanks to their dominant front four and Elko often bringing a defender into the box. The Aggies weren’t perfect — they ranked near the bottom of the country in most passing categories — but it was still a drastic improvement from the year before.
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But did you know Elko coached the entire year without officially signing his contract?
Elko had a handshake deal but never actually signed his contract with Texas A&M football until this February, according to Ben Baby of the Dallas Morning News. It’s not unlike what happened with Jimbo Fisher, who spent several months of 2018 without signing his contract. It was a smart move on his part as the Aggies included a raise in the contract he ended up signing.
The deal makes Elko the third highest paid coordinator in the country. Only Aranda and Clemson’s Brent Venables makes more than Elko. Perhaps this is why he wants to stick around, or maybe he sees something in Jimbo (that the rest of us see as well). Either way, the man is p-a-i-d.
Specifically, Elko will make $2.1 million per year which is a $300,000 raise from his first season. The Aggies also exercised an option in December which extends his contract by another year despite Elko not officially signing his deal until February of this year. Texas A&M has the ability to do this every year.
There aren’t that many coordinators who garner as much respect around the country as Mike Elko, and for good reason. He is one of the very best in the business and Texas A&M football has to be ecstatic to have him around for at least another year.