What are Texas A&M's expectations for coach Jimbo Fisher? $75 million says it all
DESTIN, Fla. — The man with the richest coaching contract in college football history roamed the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa almost anonymously, like just another beachcomber.
As accomplished as Jimbo Fisher has been on the gridiron, part of his appeal is his everyman persona.
“I love everything about ball,” Texas A&M’s new coach said during the SEC spring meetings.
After handing a coach with the highest career winning percentage — yes, even higher than Nick Saban — $75 million to leave Florida State, Aggies everywhere should love him.
But the season is quickly approaching, and it’s time we start asking the only question that matters: What exactly did Texas A&M get for its $75 million (over 10 years), the largest payout in program history?
As the days tick down to his first season in College Station, Texas, it’s not unreasonable also to ask how Fisher, Texas A&M, the fans and administration will define success after that massive salary outlay.
“I’m not quite sure,” said Aggies athletic director Scott Woodward. “Who was it? Supreme Court justice [Potter Stewart] said about pornography, ‘I’ll know it when I see it.'”
Uh, yeah, in a famous 54-year-old obscenity case.
Elsewhere, in the present day, Fisher is being reminded everywhere he goes that it’s national championship or bust in exchange for the time and money A&M has promised. Never mind the program has just one of those in its history (1939).
“If I didn’t think it was capable of being done there, I wouldn’t have went,” Fisher said. “That’s what I want for myself. I want to build a program, not a team.”
To reinforce those expectations, Texas A&M chancellor John Sharpin February. All that was missing was a year that needed to be inscribed.
“I liked it. I loved it because that meant he had the some goals and aspirations that I do,” Fisher said. “It was very rewarding. … I had no idea. I thought it was a cute thing to do.”
There was minor panic on Thursday for Aggies everywhere when the Texas Tribune reported that Fisher still hasn’t signed his contract. Texas A&M confirmed as much.
Multiple sources at both the school and close to Fisher told CBS Sports there is nothing to worry about. The length and complication of such a contract requires time to get through.
“Zero concern,” a Texas A&M source said.
To get Fisher to College Station, it helped that.
Woodward has a track record of his own. He took over an 0-12 Washington program in 2008. Woodward eventually hired Chris Petersen away from Boise State. The season after Woodward left in 2016, the Huskies won the Pac-12 and got to the College Football Playoff.
He came to a place that hasn’t a conference title in 20 years.
“It’s so subjective,” Woodward said of the expectations. “We’re looking at this obviously long term, like I look at all things.”
It also helped Texas A&M’s case that, for whatever reason, Fisher and Florida State had fallen out of like with each other. It can be argued that FSU was a better place for Fisher to win those championships rather than the ultra-competitive SEC, but the SEC remains the gold standard. Fisher pointed out that he has spent more than time in the SEC (13 years) than he has the ACC (11).
“I understand the waters you’re in and how important it is [in the SEC] and the seriousness of it,” Fisher said. “It’s serious everywhere, but it’s a little more serious here than it is everywhere else.”