Texas A&M fires football coach Jimbo Fisher amid futility

Texas A&M Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher before facing the North Carolina Tar Heels in the 2021 Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on Saturday, January 2, 2021. Photo by Hans Deryk/UPI
Texas A&M Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher before facing the North Carolina Tar Heels in the 2021 Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on Saturday, January 2, 2021. Photo by Hans Deryk/UPI

Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Texas A&M University has fired head football coach Jimbo Fisher in the midst of a lackluster season. The move will cost the school more than $75 million to pay Fisher what remains on his 10-year contract, more than three times what any college team has ever paid a coach not to coach.

"After very careful analysis of all the components related to Texas A&M football, I recommended to President [Mark] Welsh and then Chancellor [John] Sharp that a change in the leadership of the program was necessary in order for Aggie football to reach our full potential and they accepted my decision," Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork said in a statement. "We appreciate Coach Fisher's time here at Texas A&M and we wish him the best in his future endeavors."

The school said Bjork will provide an update at 5 p.m. ET.

The Aggies play in the SEC, one of the most competitive and high-stakes athletic conferences in the nation. Texas A&M had expected Fisher to make the team competitive not only in the SEC, but also to compete for a national championship.

Neither has happened despite record spending on coaching, recruiting, and a $485 million remodeling of the team's home stadium, Kyle Field, transforming it into a colossal venue with more than 100,000 seats, among the largest sports stadiums in the country. Fisher was 45-25 in six seasons at Texas A&M, a poor performance by the school's standard of expectation.

Texas A&M's head coach Jimbo Fisher paces the sideline in the second quarter against Missouri at Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri on Saturday, October 16, 2021. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
Texas A&M's head coach Jimbo Fisher paces the sideline in the second quarter against Missouri at Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri on Saturday, October 16, 2021. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

"You can win it all with what's here," a source at Texas A&M told ESPN. "It's all set up. There's good kids and good players. This is a top-five job. They have all the resources and facilities."

Texas A&M will owe Fisher $19.2 million within 60 days and then pay him $7.2 annually through 2031, according to the terms of the contract. The players have 30 days to enter the transfer portal, which allows then to switch schools with no penalty or delay in playing time.

Texas A&M Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher (L) and running back Devon Achane participate in the Orange Bowl trophy celebration after defeating the North Carolina Tar Heels 41-27 in the Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Saturday, January 2, 2021. Photo by Hans Deryk/UPI
Texas A&M Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher (L) and running back Devon Achane participate in the Orange Bowl trophy celebration after defeating the North Carolina Tar Heels 41-27 in the Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Saturday, January 2, 2021. Photo by Hans Deryk/UPI

Texas A&M is 6-4 overall, and 4-3 in the SEC this season, a failure by the programs' standards. The Aggies beat Mississippi State 51-10 on Saturday but the school had already made the decision to fire Fisher based on the team's poor performance this season and a growing track record of subpar performances and lack of high-profile victories in recent years.

The Aggies won the Orange Bowl after the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and finished No. 4 in the Associated Press poll. Since then, the team has gone 19-15 and has failed to win the SEC West or play in the College Football Playoff during Fisher's tenure.

Texas A&M hasn't won a road game since winning at Missouri in 2021, a streak of futility that has stretched to nine games. It exemplifies the program's failure to compete at the highest levels of the sport.

Frustration has been building with the school's leadership, which has consistently pointed to the stadium investment and the amount of coaching and player talent at Texas A&M and offered as evidence the fact that the Aggies have been one of the most aggressive schools in the NCAA's Name, Image and Likeness policy (NIL), which allows players to be paid for various commercial deals.

Fisher is the latest in a string of Texas A&M coaches to fail to meet expectations, or even take the program to a higher level. The Aggies last won a conference championship in 1998, when it played in the Big 12.

Fisher is the fourth consecutive head coach to fail to win a conference championship, following Dennis Franchione, Mike Sherman and Kevin Sumlin.

The school said associate head coach Elijah Robinson will serve as the Aggies' interim coach. Buyout expenses and a new coaching salary could wind up costing Texas A&M more than $100 million.