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Texas A&M fire football coach Jimbo Fisher – and now owe him $75m

Texas A&M fired coach Jimbo Fisher on Sunday, a move that will cost the school more than $75m and end a tenure that began six years ago with the Aggies presenting him an engraved national championship trophy missing only the year.

“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.”

Instead of winning a title, Fisher went 45-25 and 27-21 in the Southeastern Conference, never winning more than nine games in any season. The Aggies are 6-4 with two games left, coming off a 51-10 victory against Mississippi State on Saturday night in College Station, Texas.

Fisher was lured away from Florida State, where he had won a national championship in 2013, by massive 10-year, fully guaranteed contract at the end of the 2017 season. That contract was extended after he led the Aggies to a 9-1 record during the 2020 pandemic season, by far A&M’s best year under Fisher.

According to his contract, Fisher is owed the entirety of the amount remaining on his deal – regardless of whether he gets another job in coaching – a staggering buyout that is more than triple the largest known given to a fired head coach. Texas A&M must now pay Fisher $19.2m in the next 60 days and then $7.2m a year until 2031.

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Auburn paid out about $21m when it fired Gus Malzahn after the 2020 season.

Fisher was asked if the season was frustrating after Saturday night’s victory.

“It’s not frustrating, but it’s disappointing at times,” Fisher said. “Like I’ve said, we’re three or four plays from playing in a playoff spot. But we’ve got to put that past us and grow from it and learn from it for next year.”

Landing Fisher was seen a power move by then-Texas A&M athletic director Scott Woodward. A coach had not left a school where he won a national championship and immediately jumped to another job since Johnny Majors left Pittsburgh for Tennessee in 1977.

Texas A&M have only one national title to their credit in 1939 and last won a conference championship in 1998 as a member of the Big 12.

At Fisher’s introductory news conference, school leaders made their goals clear, having a national championship trophy made up with 20– engraved on it.

Fisher never even won a Southeastern Conference division title, and when the Aggies went 5-7 last season to fail to qualify for a bowl game for the first time since 2008, the pressure ramped up in 2023.

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He was hired to replace Kevin Sumlin, who was fired with one game left in 2017 with a 7-5 record that year and a 51-26 mark in six seasons. But Fisher didn’t even match the success of Sumlin – who went 11-2 in his first season when Johnny Manziel won the Heisman Trophy – much less elevate the team under his command.

Fisher finally gave up play-calling duties and hired former head coach Bobby Petrino to run the offense. There was some improvement on that side of the ball, though injuries – most notably to promising quarterback Conner Weigman – blunted progress.

An early season loss to Miami made Texas A&M fans quickly begin to wonder if anything had changed. A stretch of three losses in four games to Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi assured the Aggies of another season in the middle of the pack in the SEC.

The Aggies have regular-season games left against Abilene Christian and LSU.