By Charles Carter III
Kevin Sumlin was fired by Texas A&M on November 26th, 2017 directly after a demoralizing 45-21 loss to Louisiana State. Sumlin was let go before the culmination of the Aggies season in The Belk Bowl where they lost to Wake Forest.
While Sumlin’s tenure at Texas A&M did not end the way that he would have liked, that should not take away from his diminish his coaching career.
Coach Sumlin’s head coaching career started at the University of Houston in 2009 and he coached there until 2011. During that time, Sumlin was 35 – 17 and led the Cougars to two Armed Forces’ Bowls. In his last year with Houston he and former star quarterback Case Keenum; helped transform the University of Houston into a college football beacon.
University of Houston alum and ‘ride or die’ cougars fan, Beryl Davis, spoke about her feelings on Coach Sumlin’s career.
“I was behind him because I felt like he was truly for the players until he used us for a stepping stone to launch his career like Art Briles, and Tom Herman. So, I can say honestly for myself, I didn’t care to see any of them do well. Because I felt like it has been a continuous betrayal to the city of Houston,” said Davis. “So, for him to get hired again at the University of Arizona, yeah its good he’s employed, but if he’s not very efficient or effective over there; It’s no skin off my bones.”
As Sumlin moved onto the radar of the power five conference schools, his next step was coaching at Texas A&M for 6 years. Many believed Sumlin would still be the Aggies coach now if he hadn’t had such immediate success with Johnny Manziel.
Manziel and Sumlin posted a 20 – 6 record over his first two seasons. If his success was more evenly paced and not so abrupt could Sumlin still possibly be an Aggie? Once the bar is set so high, it can nearly be impossible to receive realistic expectations from fans and critics.
Freshman Defensive Tackle, Josh Rogers, was a recruit of Sumlin’s and he spoke about what he believed the thoughts of the team were when Coach Sumlin was relieved of his duties and about his new-hire at Arizona.
“Everybody was aware of the situation, but nobody believed the day would really come. It was mostly just emotions all over the place because we knew what kind of guy Sumlin was; and the way he was treated in the process was seemingly not fair after all he had done for the A&M program. But, we all know the business side of things and we welcomed Coach Fisher with open arms, back to football. On the other side, we all wish coach Sumlin the best and much success.”
With everything that the Aggies went through with Sumlin, there is seemingly a bond with his players and coaching staff.
However, with Sumlin’s move the college football landscape is waiting to see next season’s Wildcats. Both Sumlin and the Arizona Wildcat fanbase are hoping this will be the beginning of a memorable era.