A week after Texas A&M had been set to hire Kevin Sumlin, the school finally pulled the trigger on the University of Houston coach Saturday.
Sumlin was officially named as Mike Sherman’s replacement following a bizarre week in which Sumlin and his camp remained calmed while the politics in Aggieland played out. It became clear as the week progressed Sumlin was still the man to lead A&M into its SEC existence beginning next season.
Sports Radio 610 was the first to report through sources on both sides last Saturday that Sumlin would be named head coach within 24 hours. While the process took a little longer, it had been clear for a week that Sumlin was the choice of the power brokers after he turned down Arizona State and did not seriously entertain a chance to become the UCLA Bruins head coach.
“I am very excited about the opportunity to serve as the head football coach at Texas A&M University,” said Sumlin, who served offensive coordinator under R.C. Slocum. “Having coached there before, I understand the culture and embrace the commitment by the 12th Man regarding Aggie football. Aggieland is a special place and I look forward to working with the young men in the football program and recruiting the type of players we need to be successful in the SEC.”
There are some who will suggest that Sumlin should be careful what he obviously wished for. Both UCLA and Arizona State had strong interest in the fourth-year head coach, but Sumlin did not seriously entertain any other offers because he wanted Texas A&M. The holdup seemed to be that others needed to be convinced and there were some cursory overtures made by some toward Boise State’s Chris Petersen and Georgia’s Mark Richt – two coaches they never would have landed – before ultimately realizing the man who had patiently remained on ice for more than a week was the right man for the job.
“We began this search process a little over a week ago and spoke to many worthy and qualified candidates, but my decision, which was made in consultation with (Texas A&M) President (R. Bowen) Loftin, kept leading me to Kevin,” said A&M athletic director Bill Byrne, whose role in the whole search process was not always clear. “We met this morning to finalize the offer. I believe he is the right person to lead our football program into the Southeastern Conference. First of all, Kevin is a terrific person. He is also one heck of a recruiter and he will put together a great staff.”